2007 Florida Statute, Title XXXIII Regulation of Trade, Commerce, Investments and Solicitations.
Chapter 535, Horse Sales, Shows and Exhibitions.
535.16 Sale and purchase of horses; unfair or deceptive trade practices.
1. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall examine the conditions surrounding the sale and purchase of horses and shall adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536 (1) and 120.54 to prevent unfair or deceptive trade practices. Vertical integration of services and employees, in and itself, shall not be considered an unfair or deceptive practice. The department's examination shall include the following:
The disclosure of the legal owner and buyer of the horse and any dual agency to the buyer and seller; the disclosure of relevant medical conditions, defects, and surgeries; the conduct or alterations that could affect the performance of the horse; and the need for a written bill of sale or similar documentation.
2. This provision shall not apply to sales resulting from claiming races at licensed pari-mutual facilities.
As used in this rule chapter, the following definitions shall apply:
1. "Dual Agent" means a person who knowingly agrees with the Owner and Purchaser of the horse, either individually or jointly, to act in a fiduciary capacity on behalf of the Owner and the Purchaser in exchange for the promise of compensation. Auction companies or persons licensed to conduct public sales of thoroughbred horses under Chapter 535, F.S., shall not be deemed to be dual agents under this rule chapter.
2. "Horse" means an equine as defined in Section 773.01(2) F.S.
3. "Trainer" means a person who trains horses for contests, shows or performances.
5H-26.003 General Requirements Relating To The Sale or Purchase of Horses.
1. Any sale or purchase of a horse or any interest therein in Florida shall be accompanied by written bill of sale described in Rule 5H-26.004, F.A.C., except as provided in subsection (8).
2. A person shall not act as a dual agent in a transaction involving the sale or purchase of an interest in a horse without:
a. The prior knowledge of both the Purchaser and the Owner; and
b. Written consent of both the Purchaser and the Owner.
3. No person acting as an agent for a Purchaser or an Owner, or acting as a dual agent, in a transaction involving the sale or purchase of a horse or any interest therein, may receive consideration, compensation, fees, a gratuity, or any other item of value in excess of five hundred dollars ($500), related directly or indirectly to such transaction, from an individual or entity, including any consignor involved in the transaction, other than the agent's principal, unless:
a. The agent receiving, and the person or entity making, the payment disclose in writing the payment to both the Purchaser and the Owner; and
b. Each principal for whom the agent is acting consents in writing to the payment.
4. Any person acting as an agent for a Purchaser or an Owner or acting as a dual agent in a transaction involving the sale or purchase of a horse or any interest therein shall, upon request by his or her principal or principals, furnish copies of all financial records and financial documents in the possession or control of the agent pertaining to the transaction to the principal or principals. For purposes of this section, financial records shall not include the agent's or Owner's work product used to internally evaluate the horse.
5. An agent or trainer shall not purchase on behalf of its principal, nor recommend that its principal purchase or have purchased, any horse in which the agent or trainer has a legal or equitable ownership interest, either directly or through an entity in which the agent or trainer exercises any ownership or control, without the prior knowledge of the principal and the principal's written consent, if practicable.
6. Except as provided in subsection (4), nothing in this rule chapter shall require disclosure of compensation arrangements between a principal and an agent where no dual agency exists, where the agent is acting solely for the benefit of his or her principal, and where the agent is being compensated solely by his or her principal.
Further, for any sale or purchase of a horse or any interest therein in Florida through a public auction or a public sale of thoroughbred horses licensed under Chapter 535, F.S., nothing in this rule chapter shall require disclosure of the reserves, the identity of the Owner or Purchaser, or the auctioneer's commissions.
7. No contract or agreement for payment of a commission, fee, gratuity, or any other form of compensation to a dual agent in connection with any sale or purchase of a horse or any interest therein shall be enforceable by way of an action or defense unless the contract or agreement is in writing and is signed by the party against whom enforcement is sought.
8. For any sale or purchase of a horse or any interest therein in Florida through either a public auction or a public sale of thoroughbred horses licensed under Chapter 535, F.S., any bill of sale requirement contained in Chapter 5H-26, F.A.C., may be satisfied by the issuance of an auction receipt or acknowledgement of purchase, generated by the auction company or licensee, stating the name of the horse or the hip number used to identify it for purposes of the public auction or the public sale, the date of purchase, and the purchase price, signed by the Purchaser or the Purchaser's agent. The auction receipt or acknowledgement of purchase shall expressly state or incorporate by reference all conditions of the sale, including the terms of any warranties.
9. During the conduct of any sale of a horse or any interest therein in Florida through a public auction of horses or a public sale of thoroughbred horses licensed under Chapter 535, F.S., the auction company or licensee shall provide a medical information center on the sales grounds for placement of any medical records on a horse that the Owner or its agent may choose to provide for review by Purchasers and their agents. The auction company or licensee may require in its conditions of sale that an Owner or agent include specific types of medical records in any documentation placed in the center.
10.(a) An Owner or its agent that has subjected a horse to one or more of the following treatments within 7 days prior to the private sale of the horse or any interest therein shall disclose this fact to the purchaser prior to the sale:
1. Extra-corporal shockwave therapy or radio pulse-wave therapy.
2. Acupunture, electro-stimulation, or both, with the intent or effect of altering laryngeal function of the horse.
3. Internal blister or other injections behind the knee, which are intended to or which have the effect of concealing true conformation of the horse.
4. The use of any electrical or mechanical device designed or used to shock or prod a horse for the purpose of increasing the horse's speed when it is being exhibited prior to sale, except for the use of a whip, spurs, or items otherwise permitted by the rules of the governing breed association, federation, or other regulatory body.
(b) In any sale of a horse or any interest therein in Florida through a public auction of horses or a public sale of thoroughbred horses licensed under Chapter 535, F.S., the auction company or licensee shall include in its conditions of sale a prohibition on the treatments specified in subparagraphs (a) 1.-4. while the horse is on the sales grounds and shall provide specific procedures and means for redress in the event of violations.
11. With regard to any sale of a horse or any interest therein in Florida through a public auction of horses or a public sale of thoroughbred horses licensed under Chapter 535, F.S., an auction company or licensee that publicly disseminates initial sales results from that auction or public sale shall disclose, within 90 days of the end of the auction or public sale, any such sales that were ultimately determined by the auction company or licensee, based upon the information it receives in the ordinary course of business, as "reserve not attained" or "not sold." The auction company or licensee shall make this disclosure in the same manner it used to publicily disseminate the initial sales results, as well as in response to any written inquiry to the auction company or licensee.
12. When an Owner or its agent provides any mediacl information in response to an inquiry from the Purchaser or its agent about the medical history of a horse, the Owner or its agent shall accurately disclose all information within its knowledge that is responsive to an inquiry.
13. A violation of any provision of Chapter 5H-26, F.A.C., resulting in actual damages to a person, shall be considered an unfair and deceptive trade practice pursuant to Chapter 501, Part II, F.S.
5H-26.004 Bill of Sale
Except as provided in subsection 5H-26.003(8), F.A.C.,the sale or purchase of a horse or any interest therein in Florida must be accompanied by a written bill of sale that must include a minimum of the following:
1. The name, address and signature of the Purchaser, the Owner, or their duly authorized agents. In a transaction soley relating to a stallion season, breeding right, or a fractional interest in a horse, the syndicate manager or horse manager may serve as an acceptable agent in response to this requirement.
2 The name of the horse, and its sire and dam if known.
3. The breed and registry status of the horse, if applicable and if known.
4. The age of the horse, if known.
5. The date of the sale.
6. The purchase price of the horse.
7. The following statement: " As the person signing below on behalf of the Owner, I confirm that I am the lawful Owner of this horse or the Owner's duly authorized agent, and I am authorized to convey legal title to the horse pursuant to this bill of sale."
8. The following statement: " As the person signing below on behalf of the Purchaser, I understand that any warranties or representations from the Owner or the Owner's agent that I am relying upon in acquiring this horse, including warranties or representations with respect to the horses age, medical condition, prior medical treatments, and the existence of any liens or encumbrances, should be stated in writing as part of this bill of sale."