Western New York Equine Lawyer?

I have a friend in New York who is an attorney, and has horses. She’s in Eastern New York. She was contacted by a woman whose horses were illegally taken and sold. She has verified the information, but she isn’t in a position to try and help this lady out due to her commitments, and the distance. Is there anyone out there who might be interested in looking in to this, and considering taking it on. There are a number of entities which have liability here. I am waiting for my attorney friend to send me her description of the details, so that I can send it out to anyone who might be interested.

I wouldn’t post this if Ii hadn’t done my due diligence. This is real.



Here is the information from the attorney in New York:

First Action was a foreclosure action for the premises located in Freeville, NY entitled: Citimortgage v. O’Malley, and the Tenant etc. This matter was initiated in 2019 and Tenant was personally served as a tenant on the property. The filings are available on efile for NYcourts.gov and also on the Tompkins County Clerk’s website. This matter was apparently frozen due to Covid. When the Covid protocols were released, the bank moved for a judgment of foreclosure and sale. Apparently this occurred in March and the deed was recorded in April.

Second Action is the summary proceeding that was filed in the Dryden Town Court by the new owners of the property, Jessica Bartholomew d/b/a Revolution Farm. The predicate notice that was given was a 10 Day notice and Tenant was treated as a “squatter” without a landlord/tenant relationship under RPAPL 713, which was improper. The summary proceeding was scheduled for 6/20/22 by counsel for the Petitioner, however, due to the Juneteenth Holiday and court closure was rescheduled for 6/27/22. Tenant, having not submitted to the jurisdiction of the court and not having been property served with a new notice was unable to appear on that date, but appeared by her counsel. The judge permitted the summary proceeding to go forth as scheduled and apparently signed a judgment and warrant of eviction over the objections of her attorney.

Tenant atty appealed to the Tompkins County Court and was granted a stay of eviction on 8/5/2022, which was conditioned upon the payment by Tenant of a $4,500 undertaking to the court. Tenant, for reasons unknown did not request additional time to pay and ultimately failed to pay the undertaking. Petitioner’s counsel filed a Motion to Lift the Stay on or around 8/19/2022 which was granted by the court.

The summary proceeding is currently in appellate division of Tompkins Supreme Court. Tenant’s attorney continued his efforts with respect to the appeal of the summary proceeding, however, that matter is separate and apart from why Tenant requires counsel.

Third possible Action:

I believe the original Warrant of Eviction (which was stayed) was properly served. The problematic issue was whether or not a new Warrant of Eviction was served upon Tenant in August 2022. It did not provide the required 14 Day Notice to the Tenant of the date of the eviction.

Tenant could possibly shed more light on the next part, but she was residing on the premises and also renting the barns and pasture for her 20-30 horses on the property. On or about August 26, 2022, well short of any 14 Day Notice, apparently, the sheriff authorized a gentleman to come on the property and remove the 20-30 horses and take them to a place unknown to Tenant, contrary to NY law. He refused to tell Tenant where the horses were being stored and apparently sent text messages to her demanding $20/day per horse until she removed them. Under NYS law, a landlord is required to secure any personal property of a tenant that has been evicted and permit the tenant to retrieve the personal property. Clearly this was not done.

On or about 10/13/2022, after desperately attempting to locate her horses for over a month, Tenant learned that the horses had been consigned (without her permission) to a NY Livestock Auction. Approximately 20 horses owned by Ms. Nelson were sold at the auction (on 10/15/2022. When I contacted the auction manager, I requested information regarding the legal authorization that the auction had received from gentleman that removed the horses. She made a vague reference to the foreclosure which certainly would not have given the requisite legal authority to sell the horses. In NY it would have required a properly prepared and noticed Stableman’s Lien to achieve the authority to sell. TEnant never received any notifications for an amount due by gentleman or anyone affiliated with him.

Finally, there is a rescue in Tennessee a (501c3) which I believe had prior knowledge of this impending sale and was able to amass sums between $20-$30K to purchase approximately 18 of the 20 horses that sold that day. Rescue director is a corrupt individual who sought these horses out for their bloodlines and their progeny in order to sell said horses to make a profit. Her rescue and she are corrupt, but there is little oversight over these organization and most people turn a blind eye because the horses are spared a slaughter truck to Canada or Mexico. Rescue operator and Tenant knew one another prior to the sale and prior to the eviction and wrongful taking of the horses. The women share a horse trainer in Kentucky. Tenant had requested assistance from Rescue Operator in advance of the taking/removal of the horses.

Rescue operator caused an Agent to appear on behalf of the Rescue to bid on the horses. Agent is in the possession of two of the horses, which seems to have been her compensation for her appearance at the auction to bid on the horses. Agent has attempted to contact Tenant to secure registration papers for the horses in her possession.

The horses are American Saddlebreds all registered to the American Saddlebred Registry in Lexington, KY. Given their bloodlines, they have a value anywhere from four figures to five figures or more($1,000 to $80K). Even assuming Tenant owed money to Gentleman for their care, it was significantly less than the amount he achieved by selling them at this low end auction. No funds were forthcoming to Tenant ultimately, she would like her horses returned to her. At the time of the initial taking in August, Tenant had 6 mares (female horses) with babies by their sides. There were only four babies and their mothers at the sale. I have a witness willing to state under oath that she is aware that one of the babies was trampled to death in the trailer from wherever Gentleman was hiding the horses to the sale. The vet onsite did all she could do, but it was too late.


Wow, what a horrible nightmare. Especially with so many horses!


What an incredible story! And my heart is hurting for that poor foal. I hope the Tenant can get this resolved and get her horses back safely.


It sounds like more than one foal died, from what I understand. This lady and her horses did not deserve what happened. There are some people/entities, in my opinion who were just greedy to get their hands on some nice, well bred horses- for free. This could happen to anyone- perhaps not at this level- but, this kind of thing can happen.

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Oh no :sob:

The eviction seems to have been done properly. Seized animals on an eviction are taken to the rescue group the government works with like the ASPCA. I imagine after 30 days they get rid of the animals.

My guess just glossing over is the best bet is to buy the horses back. Some bells can’t be unrung.

Trying to litigate the absence of notice of warrant probably won’t work. Marshalls are very careful about this stuff and often judges order no further warning is needed for warrant to be acted upon.

The tenant just neglected to do several things and it just backfired terribly. It’s unfortunate they did so.

I feel terribly for them and their horses. I hope they figure out how to prevail.

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Apparently, the eviction was originally filed properly, however, there were subsequent issues. And the sale that took them had no proof of ownership or a legal seizure from any authority. There’s more, and there are a lot of dirty hands here, IMHO.

By the way, I do appreciate all of your good thoughts. I’m just looking for a kind heart, with a law degree.

I hope you find an attorney who will take this case on pro Bono. I wish people had resources so they know exactly what they need to do.


Was the auction at Unadilla?

Ding ding ding

Auction keeps info on buyer.

Actually, the eviction was not done properly per NYS law. The Tenant in this case was treated as a “squatter” rather than a Tenant. A squatter gets a 10 Day Notice. A Tenant is entitled to a 90 day Predicate Notice. Failure to give the appropriate predicate notice invalidates the later summary/eviction proceeding.

In NYS, a warrant of eviction must be served 14 days in advance of the actual day of eviction, In NYS, the Landlord is on the hook to store the personal property (in this case the horses) for 30 days and provide Notice to the Tenant as to the storage location. That was not done.

This was not a case of a seizure. There was no seizure notice provided/granted, because the horses were being cared for properly.

Unfortunately, the Judge in the underlying case failed miserably in his role as trier of fact.

There are no “marshalls” in NYS. It is the local Sheriff that handles the evictions and in this area, it appears to be part of the good ol’ boy network.

I just wanted to clarify some of the things that you said in your reply.


Not true. A squatter is considered to have tenancy rights after being domiciled for 30 days or more.

The predicate notices are the same for a Holdover proceeding. They recently changed due to covid. Like just changed. But before a Holdover required a 10 day notice and the Holdover petition gave the first hearing date.

If the occupant didn’t appear for that first date then the court clerk sends appearance cards for the next and final date. A no show on this date incurs a default judgment of eviction.

The landlord then takes that default judgment to the evicting officer like a Marshal. The Marshal puts in an eviction request that contains certain info and a non military affidavit among other things. Marshall sends those papers back to the court. The court goes over them with a fine toothed comb and if all is good and the non mil done within 30 days a warrant of eviction is returned to the Marshal. Marshal then serves that warrant giving a period of time so the occupant can go to court to try and stop it via the filing of an Order To Show Cause. If approved the OSC gives a court date. By law tenancy, even on a Holdover can be extended up to 6 months after a judgment.

I was the Landlird Tenant clerk for just about a decade. Worked the window, processed OSC, Motions, was the warrant clerk who issued warrants and was the clerk in the L&T courtroom sitting next to judge writing orders among other things. I’m familiar.

This process only recently changed with a plethora of covid related papers now being required as well as service times changing. I just retired so I haven’t had to deal with that as the eviction moratorium had just lifted when I left.

As far as Marshals, there are. In NYC only Marshals do evictions. They are city marshals. Sheriffs do eviction upstate.


It’s different Upstate as I pointed out. Downstate is completely different.


As far as the horses: any animal left in the premises of a domicile where an eviction is taking place is taken away. In my court the local Marshal loved animals so he would try hard to get a rescue in. But other Marshals didn’t. They’d call in animal control and the animal would go to the pound.

In the case of horses it wouldn’t matter if there was neglect or not. The animals would still be taken and placed somewhere. I do not know if the evicting officers have dedicated resources regarding placement. But once 30 days expires, the animals are gotten rid of. In this case via auction. I am guessing any money went to either the evicting officer or to back rent. I’ve never had that situation.

The law is the same. What changed is the criteria pre and post Covid. January 2020 eviction procedure differed from Jan 2022 procedure which differed from April 2022 procedure. The week I left a memo came out with all new changes.

Is it possible to buy back the horses?

I’m familiar. I’m a Town Court judge in Upstate NY. I also practice Landlord/Tenant law- very familiar with the changes of June 2019 and the changes due to Covid. The procedure you describe is particular to NYC and not Upstate. Covid affected everyone, however, most of the protections ended with the exception of Emergency Rental Application Program or “ERAP”. The state legislature tried to homogenize the laws to make them more liberal for Upstate Tenants. The result has been a nightmare, only magnified by the Covid BS.

Squatter does not get more than a 10 Day Notice per RPAPL 713(3) which is the section cited by the new owner’s attorney in the Petition:
§ 713. Grounds where no landlord-tenant relationship exists. A special
proceeding may be maintained under this article after a ten-day notice
to quit has been served upon the respondent in the manner prescribed in
section 735, upon the following grounds:
3. He or the person to whom he has succeeded has intruded into or
squatted upon the property without the permission of the person entitled
to possession and the occupancy has continued without permission or
permission has been revoked and notice of the revocation given to the
person to be removed.

A Tenant who’s tenancy has been terminated via a properly served Notice of Termination is entitled to a 30-60-90 day Notice to Terminate dependent upon the length of the underlying tenancy. In this case the tenancy exceeded 2 years, which entitled the Tenant to a 90 Day Notice. That notice was not given, ergo it was improper. The eviction was improper. This change occurred in June 2019, long before Covid.

The procedures and due process were not followed in this case. I’m happy to send you the link at the Tompkins County Clerk’s website if you would like to examine it.