Question: Should you have a “no dogs” policy at your barn?
Answer: It depends. Many horse-lovers are also often dog-lovers and therefore, enjoy the experience of bringing their dogs out to the barn when they come out to ride. It affords dogs the opportunity to be in the fresh air and around the horses which is an exciting adventure for them. However, dogs that pose a threat to horses, staff, boarders, other dogs, cats, should not be allowed. If you do decide to allow dogs at the farm/boarding facility, consider having rules in place with respect to dogs. While not an exhaustive list, below are some clauses to potentially utilize if you decide to allow dogs at the farm/boarding facility:
- Farm Rules. You may want to include in your farm rules that while well behaved dogs are allowed on the property “dogs must be on a leash at all times”. If there are farm dogs on the property, you may want to have a clause within the farm rules that boarders/guests should not feed treats to or otherwise handle/play with farm dogs.
- Boarding Agreement. Within your boarding agreement, consider including a clause that while dogs are welcome, they must be leashed at all times and the owner is fully responsible for its dog actions. Further, that if the dog causes any damage to property, or any injury or harm to an animal or person, the dog owner agrees to reimburse the losses and to indemnify, defend, and hold the farm/boarding facility harmless from any liability or legal fees resulting from the incident. You may want to also include language that the farm reserves the right to require proof of current vaccinations for any dog at the farm and that farm management reserves the right to restrict any and all dogs from property at its discretion, including if there are any safety concerns or other issues. Further, that dogs must stay with owner at all times.
If an incident occurs and safety is an issue, a good course of action is to put the dog owner on notice, in writing, that the dog is restricted from the property.
If you are a boarder bringing your dog to a facility, be considerate and cautious when bringing your dog to the property.