Can a horse be returned due to an X-ray findings of “podotrochlea”? (palmar foot syndrome / problems around the distal navicular (bone) )

Higher Regional Court in Hamm (2nd Civil Senate), Judgment of 28.01.2019 - 2 U 98/18 on the question of returning a young horse, which was sold without lameness but among others with an X-ray finding of the palmar foot syndrome, which is associated with a distal sesamoid (bone) inflammation , also called navicular disease.

 

In this case, a buyer wanted to return her horse immediately after the purchase, which should show a lameness on the front legs.

 

This law grade lameness could be confirmed after arrival at the buyer by a veterinarian.

 

According to the judicial assessment the undisputed low-grade lameness most likely could not be attributed to the X-ray findings. The seller explained that the horse with a proper horseshoe and by a correct horse keeping would not have shown any lameness.

The buyer, who was considered as a commercial person in the proceedings, could not prove that the horse was already damaged at the time of delivery. She lost in the court procedure.

 

Radiographic findings are not sufficient for returning the horse

 

The Higher Regional Court of Hamm confirms by the current prevailing case law that the time of delivering the horse from seller to buyer is decisive for returning the defect horse

 

Usually, the presence of an X-ray finding is not sufficient, even if this indicates a certain likelihood of future lameness.

 

The horse as an individual living creature could not correspond to a physiological ideal state. The buyer must always expect that there are certain non-standard inadequacies in a horse.

 

Lower qualification is no defect

 

The decision is particularly interesting, because according to the personal experience of our lawyer Hendrik Jürgens, the diagnosis of a malposition of the hoof roll / beam bone, ie of a so-called palmar foot syndrome, always led to a lower usability of the horse for the tournament sport. Even though the horse was not lamed at the time of delivery, the mistake in the horse's building meant that the horse could not be used in training, so that a lasting success could be expected.

 

In addition, part of the physiological prerequisites is that the horse develops lameness only at the end of the disease phase and prior to this the horse only takes relieving posture and develops riding problems or, for example, refuses to jump.

 

Animals are not objects

 

After all, the jurisdiction determines to the fact that it views the horse as an individual and regards a certain deviation from the normal state and particularities with regard to the training and the manner of keeping, even if it leads to a diminished efficiency of the horse, as normal. It holds the view that it is inherent in a horse, that it as a living creature always has any flaws or deviations from the ideal state.

For the distinction of a defect the court therefore draws a comprehensible clear line between the quality, as it is, for example, significant in objects and things such as a car, and the term of defect in animals, which are not objects.

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