VIC Rescue Horse no lease - who takes ownership

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17 February 2020
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I adopted a 6 week old orphan foal from a registered rescue centre. There was no contract other than verbal agreement. Not to be sold, stays at my property only, I pay for gelding, and should circumstances change he be returned to rescue centre.
I was told that once the rescue centre had received transfer of ownership from the original owner then arrangements would be made for the papers to go into my name, but that the original verbal agreement should remain. I was happy with this.
I rang and asked for the registration papers several times and I was told that she was still trying to get them from the owner. I sent pics and a video on the horses 1st birthday and again asked where his paperwork was. The rescue centre called me and told me that they were in the process of drawing up a contact for me to sign, that I would never have ownership of the horse and that they would cut my fences to recover the horse if I did not sign the contract. Three months later I received the contact. No one in their right mind would sign it. Where do I stand legally? The horse was gelded & microchipped in my name and I have taken care of him since he was 6 weeks old. His teeth have been done and wolf teeth removed. I’ve vaccinated him and had regular vet checks. The rescue centre has said I must return him if I don’t agree to sign the contract that was never mentioned in the beginning.
 

Rod

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
27 May 2014
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You write back saying:
  1. you are not changing the terms of the original verbal contract;
  2. they may be charged with criminal damage and trespass if they cut fences and enter your property; and
  3. pay damages for expense/costs such as feed, vet etc.

Let me know if you want help preparing a letter.
 
17 February 2020
4
0
1
You write back saying:
  1. you are not changing the terms of the original verbal contract;
  2. they may be charged with criminal damage and trespass if they cut fences and enter your property; and
  3. pay damages for expense/costs such as feed, vet etc.

Let me know if you want help preparing a letter.
 
17 February 2020
4
0
1
Hi Rod,

Thanks for your reply. Can you please email me your details.
I was worried that as she is a “rescue centre” she could make her attempt to get him under the guise of the wildlife act. However he is being properly cared for. The only other verbal stipulation was that he has to be returned to her for branding, which given her aggressive manner I’m reluctant to do, plus it’s an opportunity for her to take him back. What are your thoughts on that?
 

Rod

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
27 May 2014
7,203
969
2,894
My details can be found in my signature below.

I don't see the Wildlife Act applying. Horses are non-indigenous and don't appear to fit other exemptions.