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I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.
How did you get the horse into your possession? Was it a gift from the prior owner? What discussions did you have when she left the horse with you? Is there a certificate of registration for the horse that was signed over to you?
Was there any discussion of her giving you the horse or of you buying it from her?
Do you happen to know what the horse's value is?
Ok, thank you. I'm going to look at some statutes for you, and I should have an answer in a few minutes. You don't have to wait - the site will notify you.
The statement that she agreed to pay half the expenses if she tried to take the horse back makes it sound like she gave you the horse as a gift. What's interesting is that, if a judge finds that she didn't, then she owes you 100% of the expenses, so it's really in her best interests to just pay you the half. That's because there's a concept in the law called unjust enrichment. If she left the horse with you knowing that you were going to pay for it, and knowing that you'd expect to be reimbursed if she tried to take it back, and she allowed you to spend money on the horse without telling you she wasn't going to pay you back, then it's not legally considered fair for her to keep the horse and the money. So if the horse DOES belong to her, and she left it with you for you to pay for all it's care, then you can sue her for reimbursement of all the money you're out - which I suspect is significantly more than the value of the horse.
The next question is going to be whether the horse is abandoned. Massachusetts doesn't have a statute that directly speaks to this, so it comes down to whether a reasonable person in your situation would have believed the animal was abandoned. If she left the horse with you, didn't feed it, didn't visit regularly, didn't pay the bills, and didn't regularly communicate with you about the animal or picking it up - it starts to look like she abandoned her. Two years is a long time.
The other issue with her suing you is that this is the type of case that would normally wind up in Small Claims Court. But a Small Claims Court judge can't order you to return the horse - he could only order you to pay for it. If she sued you in Small Claims, you'd be able to countersue for the money you spent... and the end result would likely be that you'd still have the horse and she'd have to pay you. So you may be able to try to work something out where she allows you to keep the horse in exchange for you not suing for the money you've spent. She COULD sue in the District Court for the return of the horse, but it's more time-consuming and the filing fees are higher.