Where do I stand?

ShadowHunter

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Found myself in a bit of a situation and could use some advice. Going to have to be brief and change a few details as to not be identifiable.
Basically, bought a horse late last year. Cash in hand and passport exchanged. Previous owner now wants horse back. We've said no, for many reasons but one being that the horse was neglected by this owner. We've been harassed online since then and old owner is claiming the horse was stolen and they never received payment. Unfortunately I didn't get a sales receipt as I didn't think this would be an issue. We do, however, have extensive messages confirming the sale and agreeing the handover of cash and passport. Passport is in my possession and in my name although Im aware this doesn't carry much legal weight.
I guess my query is, are these messages enough to prove sale if it comes to needing to prove ownership? We do also have a bank statement stating the amount of cash withdrawn which tallies up to the amount that was agreed.
 

Ambers Echo

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Why do you need a reason to say no to returning your own horse to a previous owner!!

Unless there are bits missing in this, you don't need to prove you bought the horse - they need to prove you stole it! Which they obviously can't as there is no evidence you stole the horse. So I would block all means of communication now and ignore them. You could go and have a word with the local police too - on the harassment issue. I did once have a vaguely similar situation when 2 tradesmen claimed we owed them hundreds of pounds. We had paid them in cash and the next thing we know we are being told we never paid and they were basically demanding more money. It was VERY intimidating and went on for a couple of days with them turning up shouting abuse at us but we told them we would not pay more and would ring the police if they didn't stop harassing us.
 

Ambers Echo

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ETA we did actually have a word with the police to ask how we were supposed to prove we paid and they were very helpful. Essentially they said the tradesmen were claiming breach of contract which was a civil not a criminal matter. And we were claiming no such breach. So the only way the tradesmen could legally get more money from us would be to take us to court. Which of course they would not do.

So unless the previous owners either report the horse as stolen or take you to court for breach of contract (sale price or whatever) then there is nothing they can do. Either way the onus is on them to act through the courts or the police. You can ignore unofficial BS like FB rants.
 

Jill's Gym Karma

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Do you have any kind of free legal advice at work, or included as part of your home insurance? I've found that mentioning this shut up a lot of idiots in the past.

Keep hard copies of all relevant documents in a safe place, block their phone number/email address and update your privacy settings on social media.

If you're at livery, explain the situation to the YO in case these morons turn up and cause a scene.
 

ShadowHunter

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Apologies I was supposed to add that they've apparently contacted the police and they've apparently said that we've got one more chance to 'give' the horse back or they'll come and take him. I believe they contacted the police before we changed the name on the passport so I think that was their angle. This all seems very sketchy to me as we've not heard a thing from the police and we've heard about this from a third party. I don't believe that the police has any authority to remove a horse anyway?
Third party has told the old owners that the name was changed. After that route has been closed to them, they've gone onto claiming they never received payment in the first place.
 

southerncomfort

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Get legal advice and speak to the police via 101 just to confirm that they wouldn't do anything in this situation.

Once you've got your ducks lined up in a row, go back to them and say that the horse belongs to you and is not for sale. Tell them not to contact you again or you will speak to the police regarding their harassment of you. Then block them on your phone, social media etc.

I had to go down this road when the previous owners of my pony constantly harassed me and posted stuff about me on various forums and websites. I showed the police everything they'd sent me along with proof that I'd blocked them on my phone, on social media etc. I proved that I asked them not to contact me several times and the police had no hesitation with issuing them with a harassment warning.

Never heard from them again! :)
 

ester

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Who will come and take the horse back? The police? Highly unlikely they usually call 'civil matter' on things like this.

Do they know where you keep the horse?
 

Theocat

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Get legal advice and speak to the police via 101 just to confirm that they wouldn't do anything in this situation.

Once you've got your ducks lined up in a row, go back to them and say that the horse belongs to you and is not for sale. Tell them not to contact you again or you will speak to the police regarding their harassment of you. Then block them on your phone, social media etc.

I had to go down this road when the previous owners of my pony constantly harassed me and posted stuff about me on various forums and websites. I showed the police everything they'd sent me along with proof that I'd blocked them on my phone, on social media etc. I proved that I asked them not to contact me several times and the police had no hesitation with issuing them with a harassment warning.

Never heard from them again! :)
This.

I'm also willing to bet they couldn't prove their previous ownership!

If they've changed their story that will count against them. If you had any sort of exchange after collection e.g. a message confirming X had settled in well - that's also good evidence as well as texts beforehand.

Get advice from the Police and legal, then tell them you've done that, and proceed as above.
 

ShadowHunter

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Yes they said the police will come and take the horse which I find hard to believe. May have to give the police a ring. Though everything is made more unlikely due to fact that they live in a different county, meaning two police forces would have to liaise; one would think they wouldn't concern themselves with such a matter with no proof.
They do know where the horse is as I have my horses at home and they stabled him here over the summer before I bought him. Contact has been blocked but they are trying to get to me through two separate third parties.
 

joosie

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Am I not right in thinking that in order to change the ownership name on a passport you must have the signatures of both the old owner and the new one? That's what I had to do with mine. So assuming they signed the form, that must also act as proof you didn't steal him? Plus, how would you have got hold of the passport in the first place unless they gave it to you? - or are they insinuating you broke into the house and stole that too...?
 

ShadowHunter

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Am I not right in thinking that in order to change the ownership name on a passport you must have the signatures of both the old owner and the new one? That's what I had to do with mine. So assuming they signed the form, that must also act as proof you didn't steal him? Plus, how would you have got hold of the passport in the first place unless they gave it to you? - or are they insinuating you broke into the house and stole that too...?
Did it online so no signature needed. Im not sure how they'd spin how we got hold of the passport in the first place. They kept it the whole time until the day of the exchange.
 

chrilaur

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sounds like the comment about police giving you one more chance is to try and scare you into giving back. Police will say civil matter. do you have any vet bills as they can also be used as proof of ownership
 

AandK

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The police will not come and take the horse from you, they are trying to scare you into giving him back. If he was stolen why did they not report it the day it happened? It's now the end of March... Passport is not proof of ownership, so not relevant really. I suggest you make sure you have copies of all correspondence from them re the sale, and speak to your local police force about them harassing you, at least it is then on record.

I suggest you block contact via the third parties as well. What a shame people behave like this!
 

ShadowHunter

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Yes I do believe what they are saying is nothing more than a scare tactic. Fair to say it’s not working. Seen as they’re story keeps changing, I think they’re clutching at straws.
We do have vet bills, his yearly boosters were given just after we bought him. Vet refused to look at his teeth before we owned him as the previous owner didn’t give their express permission, even though we agreed it between ourselves. Might not be worth much but another string to add to the bow
 

Polos Mum

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I'd be 100% sure the police have better things to do to than come and collect a horse (if they even have a spare horse box for the day!) I would let your yard owner know that there is nonsense going on and if anyone comes to see your horse that isn't you - can they call you.
Then block and ignore the old owner - vets bills, insurance, proof of taking cash out, texts agreeing payment, etc. are all small bits of evidence that work in your favour.
There was a news article yesterday that they are taking 15 hours to respond to 999 calls !! They aren't coming to get in the middle of a civil matter!
 

rowan666

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..Ring 101 just so you have it logged should the matter be escalated
.. Join BHS gold membership and seek free legal advice
..Send screenshots of all the proof you have to the third parties to shut them up and tell them you want no further communication on the subject
.. Forget the whole sorry saga and get on with your life and enjoy your horse, you've done nothing wrong
 

ossy

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Do they know where the horse is kept? If yes I’d move it ASAP if they are threatening to come and take the horse away even if it’s just an empty threat you can’t be too careful. It will be much harder for you if they get the horse back in their hands as onus would be on you to report horse as stolen and to try and get it back. If they are serious you need to be one step ahead of them.
 
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I had a similar situation & the old owner stole the horse back when they knew I was away at a wedding, I never did get him back & the police did nothing :( still have his passport so must have got him a new one
 

Schollym

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Yes they said the police will come and take the horse which I find hard to believe. May have to give the police a ring. Though everything is made more unlikely due to fact that they live in a different county, meaning two police forces would have to liaise; one would think they wouldn't concern themselves with such a matter with no proof.
They do know where the horse is as I have my horses at home and they stabled him here over the summer before I bought him. Contact has been blocked but they are trying to get to me through two separate third parties.
It is clear these people have no claim on your horse, chances are a ‘friend’ has made comments about how much they sold it for and now they are trying to capitalise on that. Is the horse freezemarked and/or microchipped might be worth getting done if not. You could get an injunction against them if they are hassling you.
 

SnowandSunshine

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I'm a police officer - 'the police will come and collect the horse' - what a load of tripe. IF they were even going to investigate there would be the small matter of interviews, court etc police would not 'collect' a horse, it just isn't done. And as the others said its a civil matter anyway.
 

Cecile

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Apologies I was supposed to add that they've apparently contacted the police and they've apparently said that we've got one more chance to 'give' the horse back or they'll come and take him. I believe they contacted the police before we changed the name on the passport so I think that was their angle. This all seems very sketchy to me as we've not heard a thing from the police and we've heard about this from a third party. I don't believe that the police has any authority to remove a horse anyway?
Third party has told the old owners that the name was changed. After that route has been closed to them, they've gone onto claiming they never received payment in the first place.
I would dump this third party you mention, sounds as if they are windup merchants...... I always refer to these type of people as hunting with the hounds and running with the fox - they generally love a drama and like to be involved with both sides

The police are not a judge/jury, they are there to investigate a crime not take sides and as they have made no contact to listen to your side I would crack on and enjoy your horse, if I went to the police today and said my neighbour had stolen my dog they wouldn't rock up at their house and take it for me.

Change your email/tel number etc. Get off any social media that they can contact you on or change whatever you need to change <no idea on what you do with that>, put any details you have on buying this horse in a folder just in case the police turn up with a headcollar, rug and horsebox :) and if previous owners do contact you just tell them to go forth and multiply - same goes for any 3rd party
 

ShadowHunter

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I'm a police officer - 'the police will come and collect the horse' - what a load of tripe. IF they were even going to investigate there would be the small matter of interviews, court etc police would not 'collect' a horse, it just isn't done. And as the others said its a civil matter anyway.
I expected as much but thank you for confirming.

Thanks everyone for your replies, helped put my mind at ease. Things seem to have gotten way out of hand for no good reason.
 

Goldenstar

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I'm a police officer - 'the police will come and collect the horse' - what a load of tripe. IF they were even going to investigate there would be the small matter of interviews, court etc police would not 'collect' a horse, it just isn't done. And as the others said its a civil matter anyway.
Yes it&#8217;s a civil matter , but harassment and stalking is not, OP feels threatened and has not the quiet enjoyment of her leisure time and I think she may have a stronger case to have recourse under the criminal law than the previous owner .
 

sunshine100*

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I expected as much but thank you for confirming.

Thanks everyone for your replies, helped put my mind at ease. Things seem to have gotten way out of hand for no good reason.



have you got CCTV? keep an eye out on lane for any suspicious cars and note down reg numbers.
Second getting injunction/desist order against them on Monday and drop this'3rd party' stirring the pot-nothing to do with them!

They may be reading this too so DM any of us if you want to discuss anything else-keep us posted
 

ShadowHunter

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No CCTV but electric gates and waist deep mud on other exit (winter has benefits). Horse doesn't load either and very high strung so difficult to take anywhere.
Just when the last threats have been forgotten, fresh ones come. Definitely will be taking things further is they don't stop. It's like they exhaust one option then try another, exhausting trying to keep up.
 

Equi

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Tell them to stop harrassing you and that when the police from another country come you’ll be waiting with tea and scones.

You may also want to remind them that Horse ownership disputes are a civil matter and the police will only be interested in any harassment caused by them!

Oh and then block them on everything.
 

bollybop

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Do they know where the horse is kept? If yes I’d move it ASAP if they are threatening to come and take the horse away even if it’s just an empty threat you can’t be too careful. It will be much harder for you if they get the horse back in their hands as onus would be on you to report horse as stolen and to try and get it back. If they are serious you need to be one step ahead of them.
I too would be considering livery (or sending to a friend) for a month or so. After all, how many posts on here advise people simply just to turn up at a yard and take away horses...
 

ester

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That was my concern, and probably even more so if you aren't on a yard with other people about to keep an eye.
 
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