When It Comes To Choosing An Attorney, Ride With Experience

Can the veterinarian keep my horse if I do not pay my bill?

On Behalf of | Nov 1, 2019 | equine and animal law |

Caring for horses can become quite expensive. If your horse needs care, you probably take it to the veterinarian. After providing care, your vet will give you a bill that you have an obligation to pay. If you fail to pay what you owe, your Georgia veterinarian can keep your horse until you do pay.

According to the Georgia Department of Agriculture, the law states that when your vet treats your horse, he or she obtains a lien on the animal. This lien remains in place until you pay the charges for treating the animal. If you pay your bill as agreed upon, the vet must give you your horse back. However, there are many details to this equine law that could result in you not ever getting your animal back.

10 days to pay

After your vet evokes his or her right under the law, you have 10 days in which to pay your bill. If you do not within this time, the law sees it as abandoning the animal. Your vet then has the right to dispose of the horse by selling, giving away, or surrendering the horse to a shelter or humane society. If none of these options are available, the vet may euthanize the horse.


Your vet does have to notify you of the 10-day period by certified mail. In addition, when he or she disposes of the animal, you must also get notification by certified mail that tells you the date and method of disposal.

Balance due

Even if the vet disposes of your horse, you still must pay the balance due. However, if the vet sold your horse and gained a profit over what was due, you will get the excess. There are no requirements for the vet to take you to court before taking action.

As you can see, making sure to pay your vet bills is vital. The law sides with the vet in this situation and provides easy means by which he or she can try to collect the debt through keeping your horse.