Show of hands here-who hasn't looked around for cheap, used stuff?
Yup-I thought so-nobody.
Who hasn't known of somebody who has been at least offered a cheap horse or seen one on craigslist? How about Horse.com? HorseTrader? or the bulletin board at the feedstore?
Now we're not saying all of these are stolen because they're not. In these hard economic time, some people are having to get rid of horses and equipment because they simply can't afford to keep them anymore. Hardship sales are everywhere. They're heart-breaking.
BUT-what just burns our collective fannies like a grassfire gone wild is the public sale of stolen property-and that, friends, is also against the law. They can't sell it and you can't buy it-even if you don't KNOW it was stolen at the time.
Now we haven't checked the local statutes in every state and we're not going to for the simple reason that, while they vary a bit in the wording, they all say pretty much the same thing. You cannot keep stolen property once you are aware that it was stolen. It has to be returned to its rightful owner. So sorry you got burned in the transaction, but that's between you and the sorry bum who got you to buy it in the first place.
No legal advice here. Just some friendly words--if the deal is just too good to be true, unless you know the WHOLE story, pass it up.
Netposse has to deal regularly with people who bought horses, loved them, sometimes have them for years-and then find out that the horse was stolen-and they have to give it up. Yes-the reunion of the original owner with the horse is joyous and great, but the heartbreak of the people who have that horse ripped away from them can be just as great. On occasion, that person is a child. That makes it that much harder.
Read Michelle Pool's story of Opie's return-and think about all the people that thief hurt.
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