Canadian Shannon Dueck Sues Oldenburg Verband in Germany Over Defective Horse
11 years ago StraightArrow Comments Off on Canadian Shannon Dueck Sues Oldenburg Verband in Germany Over Defective Horse
LOXAHATCHEE, Florida, May. 7–Shannon Dueck, an international rider for Canada, has filed a lawsuit in Germany against the Oldenburg Horse Breeding Association seeking a refund for the horse, First Noel, bought at auction a year ago which was later found to have a congenital heart defect.
The suit was filed in Landgericht Oldenburg and alleges that a veterinary report, including the results of a cardiovascular examination, made available to prospective buyers at the April, 2009, auction in Vechta, Germany, did not show any defects in the 2005 horse. The suit does not claim deception, saying the official veterinary examination at the time may not have discovered the defect in First Noel, bred by Albert Sprehe.
The Oldenburg Horse Breeding Association said in a statement that as is normal at their auctions, the stallion was examined by auction veterinarian, Dr. Holger Steinmann, three months before the auction and passed the vet. check successfully. While at the Oldenburg facility, the horse was ridden each day by auction riders and was tried out by our customers without any problems.
“The stallion was insured for eight weeks after the auction, according to the published agreement with the insurance company,” the association said in a statement to dressage-news.com.
“Shannon decided to geld the stallion before resale altering the horse she bought. During the castration the vets also did not detect a heart murmur what they should have recognized due to the anesthesia.
“A while after this the gelding was examined again for resale. In the meantime, the eight weeks coverage by the insurance were expired. On the occasion of the second examination the veterinarian found a heart murmur which is, according to the Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover, a birth defect. This was not noted in the prepurchase examination already as this defect was covered by a membrane so that nobody was able to hear any heart murmur.
“If we had been aware of this defect before the auction the horse would have never got an allowance to be auctioned. We are very sorry for all the trouble caused and would like to point out that this is not our mistake.”
Shannon, who has ridden for Canada at the 1997 Pan American Games, 2002 World Equestrian Games and 2003 World Cup Final, said that she bought First Noel as a prospective Grand Prix horse for herself, not for resale.
Shannon, who is based in South Florida, is a member of Canada’s funded squad to compete at four major European shows over the next two months in preparation for selection of the official team for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky.
She left the horse in Germany to be gelded and by the time he recovered she felt it was too hot to ship him to South Florida.
“I was arranging his transport home in September of 2009 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer,” she said. “Because of the financial ramifications, etc. I had to sell him.
“I found a buyer, who vetted him in Germany. He was found to have a heart murmur.
“The buyer arranged first for an echocardiogram at the same clinic where the horse was initially vetted.
“They found no reason for the murmur, but it was disturbing enough for all vets involved to arrange to send the horse to the University of Hanover for a two-day stay with a complete cardiac workup by the expert cardiologists there.
“The cardiologists found a congenital hole in the septum of the heart, and cannot say he is rideable without risk to himself and the rider, but can say, with a very high degree of certainty, that it has been there since birth.”
Shannon contacted the Oldenburg society in October to ask them to take the horse back as the auction has “warranties against defects, and insurance to cover these occurrences.”
“There is no doubt that their veterinary examination missed this heart murmur,” she said.
The Oldenburg society got their lawyers involved, she said, and tried to talk to the previous owner/breeder.
“I said I was happy to pick out a replacement horse of approximately equal value, but Mr. Sprehe refused to do anything,” she said.
“After no results, I finally contacted a lawyer in Germany who is an equine expert.
“He looked at the case and said we had a very strong case. He has been trying to negotiate with the Oldenburg Verband until now, with no positive results.”
The lawyer finally gave up, she said, and filed court papers last week.
First Noel is stabled near Vechta until the issue is resolved,