The Florida Equine Lemon Law

I found this link on a yahoo message board. It describes a new law that could go into affect in Florida allowing horse buyers legal protection under an equine “lemon law”. The article, “Horse Owners Laud Upcoming Lemon Law”, written by Joe Crews, was published on Daytona Beach News-journalonline.com and states the following:

The law mandates the disclosure of “relevant medical conditions, defects and surgeries; the conduct or alterations that could affect the performance of a horse; and the need for a written bill of sale or similar documentation.” The state Department of Agriculture is working on the final rules for the new law.

Morgan Silver, executive director of the Micanopy-based Horse Protection Association of Florida thinks the law is “an excellent idea.”
“Individuals have unknowingly bought horses that were diseased or had medical or behavioral problems, but they didn’t have the money to get them treated properly, buy a different horse or take legal action”, Silver said. Many of those problem horses end up with her organization, which helps find homes for them.

“Sellers should disclose all medical or behavioral issues,” she said. “A bad horse isn’t like a bad car — it can hurt its owner”.

Does anybody else think this is a little crazy? I can foresee many negative repercussions with a law like this. I have no idea how to “prove” that a horse has a behavioral problem; sometimes it is hard to determine if it is the horse or the new owner that has the problem and it also comes down to “he said/she said”. I suppose a reputable seller would take the horse back but a law seems a little extreme.

The issue of whether the horse has health issues is also problematic. Without a pre-purchase exam (which I assume the average horse buyer does not have performed either because of cost or not being educated to do so) it would be hard to tell if many conditions existed prior to the sale of the horse.

I am not naïve and think that there are no unscrupulous horse dealers in the world. It does seem, though, that a law like this can have many negative effects on the honest horse seller. Wouldn’t the time and money be better spent by making a law that makes any potential buyer must have a pre-purchase exam?

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