Chief Brand Inspector,
With spring here (or on its way soon), many of you will be on the hunt for a new horse or two for your summer ranch work or competitive events. If you are in the market for a new horse, I suggest that you have a local inspection done at the time of purchase.
There are several reasons why a local inspection may be the best option for you in obtaining the proper proof of ownership. One key reason to have a local inspection done is that there is a permanent copy of that record on file at the NDSA office. That way, if you misplace your copy of the inspection for some reason, a duplicate can be generated for you without having to have the previous owner sign another bill of sale and regenerate any other necessary paperwork from owners previous to that to provide clear title. That alone can save you a lot of time and hassle in trying to track down the brandowner or brandowners if you later want to sell the animal. The problem gets extra tricky when a previous brandowner has died. Without the proper proof of ownership, the proceeds of the sale will be held.
A common mistake that people make is signing a bill of sale for an animal wearing a brand that they don’t own. By law, the brandowner is the only person who can sign a bill of sale for an animal wearing that brand. Signing a bill of sale for an animal wearing someone else’s brand is considered false proof of ownership under North Dakota Century Code 4.1-73-20 and can be punishable as a class B misdemeanor for a first offense and a class A misdemeanor for a second or subsequent offense.
If you have any questions about what you need to provide or what you need to receive in order to have legal proof of ownership on your livestock, feel free to give any of our brand inspectors or me a call. We will be happy to help you out.