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A Shot Across The Bow

Segments of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry claim the USDA's new rule requiring mandatory minimum penalties for soring violations is unconstitutional....

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Scuppy, Part 2

The "first bite rule" took a serious hit in Connecticut when the state Court of Appeals ruled that the proper question in a personal injury lawsuit was not whether an individual horse had a known history of biting, but whether horses as a species had dangerous propensities....

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Inherently Risky?

Equine Activity Liability Laws are a legislative mandate that riding or other horse activities are dangerous and that participants in the activities assume the risk of being injured—if the injury results from an "inherent risk." Sounds good, but what, exactly, are inherent risks of an equine activity? Some are obvious. Being kicked or being bitten or falling off, for example, are risks that cannot...

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Who’s The Victim Here?

Animals are not people (although as I write this, our Dalmatian is lounging on the sofa, apparently engrossed in a golf tournament). But does this distinction mean that animals cannot be victims in a prosecution for animal neglect? Two years ago, the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon executed a search warrant in response to an animal abuse/neglect complaint. Deputies seized 69 animals, including...

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Failed Appeal

The Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court shot down the appeal of Ernest Paragallo’s animal cruelty conviction on March 31, apparently clearing the way for his return to prison. There’s nothing odd about that. Appeals are standard procedure following a criminal conviction and most appeals are denied. There are a couple of interesting twists, though. The first involves the issues raised...

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Good Laws, Ignored

A reader took issue with my statement last week that the various animal rights/animal welfare factions should be able to agree that "we need tougher animal protection laws." We don’t need "tougher" laws," the reader said, we need "better" laws. It’s hard to argue with that. Better does means improvement, after all, and everyone should be striving to make tomorrow better than today—for ourselves, for...

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Till Death Do Us Part

With the possible exception of people featured on reality television shows, no one gets married while planning to break up. Nevertheless, current statistics suggest that one in every two marriages will end in divorce. What happens to horses and other animals when their owners’ marriage fails? What should happen? Animals are considered the personal property of their owners in every state. This legal...

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A Necessary Evil

It’s a familiar story, and a frustrating one for many animal welfare advocates. Someone is arrested and charged with animal abuse or neglect. If the defendant is prominent enough, or the abuse horrific enough, there will be a splash in the press for a few days. Reports cite the maximum sentences faced by the defendant: prison time, fines, or both. Depending on the state, the offenses might be felonies...

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What About The Horses?

A few weeks ago, I commented on Lope Gonzalez, a Florida Thoroughbred breeder who lost the privilege of registering horses with The Jockey Club after his conviction for animal neglect in Florida. The lifetime ban on registering horses imposed by The Jockey Club, which could effectively end Gonzalez’s livelihood as a Thoroughbred breeder, was far more severe than the slap on the wrist handed down by...

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About This Blog

Equine lawyers don’t sue horses—but what, exactly, do they do? And why does it matter? Horses and the Law brings you an in-depth look at the important legal issues affecting horse owners and exhibitors today, including liability, sales and bloodstock agents, contracts and other business concerns, taxes, the animal rights vs. animal welfare debate, and legislation. If you agree with something, or even if you don’t, feel free to comment. Just keep it tasteful. And remember that Horses and the Law does not—and cannot—address your specific legal problems, and is not a source of legal advice. For that, you should contact your own attorney.