If a man left his horse at a friend’s house but hasn’t even checked on the horse in months, does the friend get any ownership rights?

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If a man left his horse at a friend’s house but hasn’t even checked on the horse in months, does the friend get any ownership rights?

There are no ownership papers on the horse. The horse was abused by the owner and animal control refused to do anything about it. The friend has been buying all the feed and the owner hasn’t even been to check on the horse or even called about the horse in 2 months. The owner doesn’t even pay rent. Now we’ve heard that he wants to come take the horse back. Since the people have been caring for the horse and the owner hasn’t even bother to check on it can he just show up and haul it off?

Asked on September 22, 2011 under Business Law, West Virginia

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If a horse was essentially left abandoned at a person's home for several months where animal control was called but refused to do anything about it, the actual owner can show up against and claim the horse. The actual owner can then take the horse off of the premises where it is currently.

In turn, the people who took care of the horse, fed and watered it, can request the actual owner to reimburse them the expenses for the horse including paying for its pasture rental. If the actual owner refuses to pay, then the horse's caretakers can bring a small claims action against the horse's owner.


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