Q: When I bought my pony I was informed in writing by the vendor that the passport had been applied for with the Coloured Horse and Pony Society (CHAPS) and would be forwarded to me. This has not happened and the vendor will not answer any of my e-mails, text messages or phone calls. What do I do? As far as I know, I’ve done nothing wrong and the vendor has broken the law. Do I have to spend more money and get a passport myself?
A: First contact CHAPS to verify whether the previous owner applied for a passport with them. There may have been a problem that has caused the delay with issuing the passport, and CHAPS should be able to talk to you about this.
“As you are now the owner of the pony, it is your responsibility to ensure it has a passport,” advises Stuart Farr of Laytons Solicitors. “However, it is an offence to apply for more than one passport for a horse, so it is imperative that you first find out whether the previous owner has made an earlier application with CHAPS.
“If the original owner has not applied for a passport with a recognised passport issuing organisation (PIO) such as CHAPS, they may have committed an offence under the Horse Passport Regulations 2004, especially if they have then sold the pony without the appropriate passport.
“Enforcement of the regulations lies with your local authority, so contact them if you decide to pursue a formal complaint against the seller.
“Before doing this you may wish to write to the seller one final time, informing them that you are making a formal complaint, and that if they have the passport in their possession, they should return it to you or the PIO immediately,” advises Mr Farr.