Equine Limited Liability Act

Last year the Legislature amended the Equine Limited Liability Law. The amendments to the Act  became effective on June 17 , 2011. So, you horse professionals,  if you do not have NEW signs or Waivers it is time to get them!!!
The law was amended to include most common farm or livestock animals and not limit the act to equine animals. If you are not familiar with Chapter 87 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code, this act limited the damages from horse activiies  and it now limits the damages that may arise from "farm animal" activity. So the Act  is now more expansive.

What animals are covered?
        an equine animal (horse, donkey, pony, mule, hinny)l, a bovine animal, a sheep, a pig or hog and a chicken or fowl as well as emu or ostrich
What activies are covered?
        Rodeos, fairs, horse shows, competitions, performances, handling, loading or unloading animals, or events invovling a farm animal
Does this include teaching or training horses?
    Yes, and covers the daily care involved in boarding.
What else is new in the Act?
    The definition of "farm animal professional " now includes providers of veterinarian and farrier services.

Farm Animal Professionals are now required to post signs that contain the following  Chapter 87 warning language:

This is just a heads up for those of you who may have missed the change in the Act. But it is a timely reminder  since this weekend (April 27,28, 29) we (meaning the Houston Area Dressage Community and HDS) is hosting  a CDI at Great SouthWest  Equestrian Center in Katy, Texas. This definitely qualifies as a farm animal event  involving farm animals and farm animal activities and farm animal professionals!

Next week I am off to Kentucky to the 27th Annual National Conference on Equine Law. Can't wait!

My last post stated that our horses were considered property. This may not be news to most readers but you might ask why is it important?   Property can be sold, leased, purchased, given as collateral, etc. There are a variety of statutes that govern personal property  of the equine nature.The Texas Property Code and the Stablemans Lien (sometimes known as the Garagekeepers Lien) sets out the remedies for a stable keeper (barn owner or property owner) who has an abandoned horse on her hands. This may be because the horse really did just wander onto your property from somewhere else --if you live out in the country.  In the Houston metropolitan area it is more likely that a barn owner has a horse on her hands because the owner could no longer pay the board and that is where the Stableman's Lien comes into play.
In the Family Law area, all property acquired during a marriage is considered community property and is subject to division upon divorce. So if  during your marriage you  or your Darling purchased horses, tack,  a truck and trailer to haul said horses, breeding rights, and other equine related purchases-it is all subject to division in the divorce because it is all considered Property.
It might be wise to considered a prenuptual agreement if you have significant assets and you are considering marriage. If you have alreadt taken the plunge into matrimony and have a significant estate you might consider a post nuptual agreement.

Next time.. The Equine Activity Act amended in 2011
I recenlty had dinner with a few friends and the conversation turned , as it sometimes does, to what would happen to our animals if something happened to us.  So many have said to me " I want it put in my will that (insert name of Pet) is buried with me!"
A friend said she wanted to put in her will a stipulation that she be buried in full show dress with her horse! Lot of problems flashed through my head but first and foremost putting your burial instructions in your will  guarantees they  probably won't be followed-namely because  by the time the will is found and read it's toooo late. You are probably already buried, cremated or donated to science!
Burial instructions should be in a separate document to your family to make sure they know what you desire. The Texas Probate Code governs the disposition of our estate- and if we own animals our estate includes our animals. There are many ways to provide for our dogs, cats, horses or other animals after our death  but some provision should be made whether in a will or other document such as a pet trust.
Next time... why our horses are considered property and why it matter.
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