(WSVN) - She found a beautiful palomino horse. She rode him, she bought him, and when they delivered him, he was lame. What can be done now? It’s why the woman called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
It seems at one time of another, every kid dreams of having a horse. Toni Webb’s wish came true.
Toni Webb: “I’ve had a horse since I was 11 years old, so I’ve never been without one since then.”
Recently, Chewbacca, Toni’s horse for the past 20 years, passed away. Toni was then ready for her next horse.
Toni Webb: “I went looking for a horse that I can use as a trail horse, that I can ride out the gate.”
Toni went to a website that has thousands of horses from around the country listed for sale.
Toni Webb: “And I saw this absolutely stunning quarter horse palomino, 14 years old, just exactly what I wanted.”
Toni went to this home in Auburndale, outside Orlando, where a woman had the horse.
Toni Webb: “This is the kind of horse I want.”
Toni has a video as she checked out the palomino.
Toni Webb: “I got on him and I rode him. He was quiet, he was easygoing. I said, ‘Yes, this is what I was looking for.'”
Toni paid $4,000 for the horse she named Sandy, and being an experienced owner, she talked to the woman’s vet, who said the horse was fine. She also got a guarantee in writing from the seller.
Toni Webb: “‘I want to make sure that you write down this is going to be the same horse in the same condition that I get when you deliver him.’ And so she said yes, she would write that, and she did. She wrote it on the bill of sale, ‘same horse in the same condition.'”
Two weeks later, Sandy was delivered, and the problem was obvious.
Toni Webb: “When he got off the trailer, he did that — the stumbling sideways as he turns.”
Toni hoped Sandy was stiff from the four-hour ride in a trailer, but that wasn’t it. The palomino crosses his front legs when he walks.
Toni Webb: “And keeps his front legs stiff and straight, and turns like a gate, like a wooden horse. He does not bend his knees.”
Toni brought in two different vets and spent $1,800 to try to determine why Sandy was lame and if the problem could be corrected. It could not.
Toni Webb: “He’s a lame horse. He’s never going to be rideable.”
Toni then called the woman who sold her the horse. She would not take the palomino back and would not return Toni’s $4,000.
Toni Webb: “After I had said that I wanted my money back, they didn’t answer anymore.”
Toni thinks she knows what was done to Sandy to make him walk normally on the day she inspected him.
Toni Webb: “I think that they medicated him so that he would be presentable to a buyer, and they did that on purpose so they can get rid of him.”
Well, Howard, what should Toni do?
Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “Florida has what’s called the ‘Horse Lemon Law,’ which protects someone when they buy a horse with a hidden medical condition. But Toni doesn’t need the lemon law. This a simple breach of contract because Toni was smart. She put in the contract that they must deliver the same horse in the same condition, and they did not. Therefore, in small claims court, she will win.”
We called Tracy Feagle in Auburndale about the horse she sold Toni. She said she didn’t remember selling the horse. When we reminded her, she hung up and wouldn’t answer our other calls.
Howard Finkelstein: “The good news for Toni: She does not have to go Auburndale to sue. She can sue the seller in Broward because that’s where the horse was delivered in a damaged condition. And if Toni wins, not only will she get the sales price back, but also the money she spent on vet bills to try to determine what was wrong with the horse.”
Toni Webb: “You know, it’s a shame, because you would think in the horse business people would be a little more trustworthy.”
Toni is going to sue the seller and is now looking for a horse to buy so she can ride.
As for Sandy, good news. Toni sent him to a friend with a 100-acre ranch where they will keep him.
Toni Webb: “Then he wouldn’t get killed at the slaughter, and he would still be taken care of. And maybe over a period of time, he would get well. I don’t know.”
And in one way, buying a horse is no different than buying a car. You want your mechanic to check it out, not the seller’s mechanic, and you want your vet to make sure the horse is fine, not their vet. As Toni said, you wish people could be a little more trustworthy.
Saddled with a problem that’s left you stumbling? Don’t horse around. Let us gallop in to help, ’cause we’ll give you our unbridled attention.
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