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Equine Lawyer Guidance: California’s Agister’s Lien Law

A Solution to Collect from Unpaid Boarders


It’s an all too common scenario:  Your boarder is behind – way behind – on boarding fees.  By law you are required to care for and continue to board the horse or face possible endangerment or negligence claims.  The cost is now coming out of your own pocket.  What can you do?  One option is to place an Agister’s lien against the horse and sell it to recoup the costs you have been put out.


California Law Firm Can Help Boarders Understand Their Rights and the Automatic Lien Law


California Civil Code Section 3080 gives people or businesses who board horses – whether a vet, farrier or traditional boarding barn – an automatic lien on their customers’ horses to satisfy debts incurred for services to those horses.  The lien means as a border, you can refuse to return a horse to its owner until all fees are paid in full.  What’s important to note is while the lien is automatic – no initial paperwork needs to be filed to hold onto the horse – your ability to sell that horse is not automatic.


Equine Law Attorney Explains Basic Steps to Sell a Horse According to California Civil Code 3080


Like many laws, it is advisable to consult an equine lawyer when following the agister’s lien law, which consists of a number of steps.  It may be prudent to start by filing suit against the debtor for the outstanding fees.  Again, check with your equine law attorney on this initial measure.  Following this, you will need to receive permission from the court to sell the horse.  Part of this process will be for the horse owner to be officially served paperwork notifying him of your intent.


According to Equine Law Attorney Sale of Horse will Need to Follow Conditions


After the court holds a final hearing it will issue an order where the sale will be permitted as long as it is done with specific conditions met.  Many of those specific conditions will include paperwork which can be prepared by an equine lawyer to prove that the lien applies to the debt, that the lien is valid and that the sale is necessary to prevent the horse from declining in value.


California Law Firm Equine Law Attorney Final Pointers on Agister’s Lien Law


A couple of important things to note throughout the process of following the Agister’s Lien Law:

  • The sale will need to be conducted as a “public sale.”
  • Possession of the horse throughout the process is key and necessary.
  • The horse owner may negotiate a settlement up until XXXX


For more information about horse sale contracts or equine law issues, please contact T. Randolph Catanese, Esq. at the California Law Firm of Catanese & Wells at (818) 707-0407.