Colorado Breeder, Owner, & Handler Contract Disputes Attorney

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There is an incredible amount of dedication that goes into breeding, owning, training, and handling a show animal. Breeders can spend decades cultivating the genes in their lines to produce the desired appearances and temperaments. If an animal is sold or entered into a co-ownership agreement, the owner will then ensure the animal is trained and groomed to show standards. When the animal is shown, a professional handler that has thoroughly learned show etiquette and procedures may be brought in to actually show the animal.

Each step of this process is likely to require an immense investment of time and expenses, which of course, ignores the emotional investment each person will have in an animal they have grown to love. To ensure each person is legally protected and expectations are clearly conveyed, contracts between breeders, owners, and handlers are common within the industry. Unfortunately, conflicts can arise between these individuals, creating legal difficulties that may require litigation to solve.

When this occurs, it is often wise to consult with an attorney skilled in contracts that specifically deal with animals. The Animal Law Firm cares deeply about animals and will work with you to ensure the animal’s welfare wins each time. With out-of-the-box thinking and creative arguments, we can help you reach the most favorable outcome that protects both your and the animal’s rights.

Entering Into a Contract

If a contract is written so it follows the law, it will frequently be held as legally binding and must be followed by each party within the contract. Breeders, owners, and handlers are extremely passionate about the animals under their care and create their contracts to protect every individual, including the animal. It is important that you thoroughly understand each portion of a contract that you choose to enter and ensure you are willing to abide by the stipulations within the contract. Failure to follow the conditions in a contract that you voluntarily entered can have both legal and personal consequences.

Breach of Contracts

A breach occurs when a party in a contract fails to perform their portion of the agreement laid out in the contract. In many instances, a breach of contract is simple to identify; however, it becomes more complex when you debate whether it is worth the time and expense of pursuing the breaching party. Because an animal is wrapped up in the contracts between breeders, owners, and handlers, it is often worth it to the aggrieved party (plaintiff) to pursue some type of remedy from the breach.

In order to prove a breach of contract, the plaintiff must show in the claim:

  • -A valid contract exists between the plaintiff and the defendant.
  • -The plaintiff performed their portion of the duties agreed to in the terms of the contract.
  • -The defendant failed to complete their duties as agreed to in the terms of the contract.
  • -The plaintiff suffered harm and losses as a result of the breach, and they are entitled to pursue recovery of those resulting losses.

Contracts between breeders, owners, and handlers often include specific clauses about penalties that apply to a refusal to follow the contract. If your breach of contract claim prevails in Colorado, these penalties and potentially further damages in civil court can be pursued.

Contract Conflict Resolution

In contract disputes between breeders, owners, and handlers, it is often beneficial to resolve the issues before the case progresses to litigation. Litigation can take months to resolve, an outcome less than favorable when the case centers around an animal. Colorado allows for multiple avenues of conflict resolution outside of litigation:

  • -Negotiation
    In some instances, the parties will be able to work together without any outside assistance to reach a mutually-satisfying resolution. Parties may choose to work with an attorney as their representative in the negotiation.
  • -Mediation
    A mediator, an impartial and neutral third party, uses conflict resolution skills to assist the disputing parties in reaching a solution. The mediator does not dictate the outcome but instead helps the parties communicate effectively. This process is informal and non-binding unless the parties agree to put the resolution in writing.
  • -Settlement Conference
    A neutral third party trained in law will hear the disputing parties’ arguments, then offer their opinion on the case. The third party helps both sides deeply analyze the issues and critically evaluate the case. If a judge is the third party, that judge cannot preside over the case if it progresses to litigation. Settlement conferences often work in conjunction with mediation.
  • -Arbitration
    Arbitration is less formal than litigation but still involves an outside individual issuing a binding resolution to the case. The arbitrator listens to testimony and evaluates evidence provided by both parties before issuing their resolution. The parties are required to agree to the resolution created by the arbitrator, though there are limited routes to request a court review of the agreement.
  • -Med-ARB
    Med-ARB is a combination of mediation and arbitration, used when the parties require a fast but still negotiated settlement. The parties are able to negotiate and create a resolution for the aspects of the case that they can agree on, and then the arbitrator will step in to create a resolution for the aspects the parties could not agree on. This method is especially useful for parties that have an ongoing relationship.
  • -Early Neutral Evaluation
    An early neutral evaluator (ENE) helps simplify the case by isolating the issues worth pursuing and making decisions for pretrial procedures. The evaluator generally has experience handling similar cases. The ENE’s decisions are confidential and non-binding.
  • -Mini-Trial
    A mini-trial incorporates many elements of other ADR processes and results in non-binding findings. An abbreviated version of the situation is presented by attorneys from each side to a group comprised of a neutral member and a representative from each party. Settlement negotiations are conducted by the panel, and the results help each side see the strengths and weaknesses of their case.

If the parties refuse to attempt ADR methods or are unable to find a solution with them, the case will progress to litigation.

Resolving Contract Disputes

When relationships with animals become connected to business and contracts, legal issues can arise. The Animal Law Firm understands how important animals are to those that care for them and will work diligently to help you in the event of a contract dispute. Contact our team for a consultation on your breeder, owner, or handler contract dispute issue.



We know how important your furry family member is to you. Whether they have no legs, two legs, or four or more legs, our priority is making sure you and your pet receive the best representation possible.

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