There are many situations where a “friend” of a boarder represents to a stable owner that they’ve been given permission to do this or that activity with a boarder’s horse. Each of these instances can be problematic, but none so risky as the situation where someone represents they’ve been given “permission” to take the horse off property.
What are some of the issues?
First, you owe the owner of the horse a duty to keep the horse safe within your property boundaries. Allowing any third party to remove the horse fundamentally breaches that duty.
Second, simply taking someone’s word of “permission” amounts to gross negligence in the execution of your duty above. That person could be stealing the horse, or using it in an unauthorized manner.
Third, an accident can happen at any time. Typically, on your own premises, you’ve taken the necessary steps to ensure to the best of your ability that those exposures are minimal.
Fourth, your “control” of the situation ceases the moment the horse leaves the property. Accident exposure exponentially increases.
Fifth, in a worse case scenario, you are facing serious legal exposure. Lacking proper paperwork, you can be liable for breach of contract, breach of warranty, breach of bailment duties, conversion, theft, accomplice to theft, and punitive damages for permitting this to occur without the owner’s express written permission and strict compliance with the terms and conditions of same.
So, rule of thumb—don’t let this happen, ever—without clear and unambiguous written instructions from the owner and signed liability waivers by all parties involved.
For more information contact Denise Farris, Perry& Trent, LLC. 13100 Kansas Avenue, Suite C, Bonner Springs, KS. Ph: 913-441-3411; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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