Kentucky Bills Boost Barn Operators, Rescues

Kentucky's House Agriculture and Small Business Committee last week approved two bills intended to help boarding barn operators and horse rescues cope with the negative economy.

Sponsored by Rep. Dwight Butler, HR 418 expands local government authority to collect stray or abandoned horses and place them with caretakers. It also allows caretakers to recoup care costs from owners who later reclaim their horses.

HB 331, sponsored by Rep. Royce Adams, allows barn operators to sell horses 45 days after their owners fail to pay board bills. Current law requires barn operators to file a lien to recover delinquent board fees.

Adams' bill reduces the investment barn operators are forced to make when horses owners default on board fees, said Madelyn Millard, operator of Goose Creek Stables near Lexington.

"In one situation it took me two years to go through the system and sell a horse for a board bill. And with grain at $11 a bag and hay at $11 a bale, it gets expensive. Something had to be done," Millard said.

Similarly, Butler's bill helps equine rescues cope with the economy-driven rise in abandoned horses.

"People refer to the unwanted horses issue, but it's really a business issue for people who care for these horses," said Kentucky Horse Council Executive Director Ginny Grulke.

Both bills move to the Kentucky House for approval next week.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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