The British Horse Society has issued a warning to horse owners about the dangers of unscrupulous dealers.
Owners have been selling their horses to people who are advertising in equestrian magazines for ‘companion’ horses, believing that their much loved horse or pony will spend the rest of its days being cared for in pleasant surroundings as a companion to another horse.
However, the BHS has received complaints that the buyers are dealers posing as private owners and are selling the horses on, either at sales or to the meat market.
This is not illegal if they have actually paid for the horse or have what is in effect a Bill of Sale, despite the fact that it causes extreme distress to the original owner.
If a horse is put out onpermanent loan – with a proper written agreement – then the person to whom it is loaned may not sell it, loan it or put it down without the original owner’s agreement.
However, if the horse is sold, even if only £20 changes hands, then the new owner is free to dispose of that horse how they wish.
The BHS advises owners of companion horses to ensure that the purchaser is genuine before parting with their animal. This may involve extensive enquiries and even requesting references to ensure yourhorse’s future.
The BHS also suggests that owners who can no longer care for their horse themselves, choose the difficult option of having the horse put down rather than risk the animal being passed around dealers and meat men.
For further info contact BHS (tel: 08701 202 244)