AUBURN — A roughly 20-year-old horse in Lisbon Falls won’t be euthanized as long as his former owners have him treated for Lyme disease and vitamin deficiency.

Androscoggin County Superior Court Justice MaryGay Kennedy ordered Thursday that Knotty will remain at River View Farm in Lisbon Falls, which his owner, Lisa Bosse, owns and operates.

Knotty has several chronic conditions other than Lyme disease that put him at heightened risk for falling and being unable to rise on his own.

Bosse had planned to have a veterinarian end Knotty’s life due to the horse’s chronic conditions that cause his eyes to cloud and swell and be sensitive to light, and his hindquarters to lack muscle tone. Those conditions aren’t expected to improve with new medical treatment.

Jayne and Daniel Buck Soules of Libson, who owned Knotty for the previous decade, objected to Bosse’s plan to have Knotty euthanized and filed a motion for a preliminary injunction.

At an October court hearing on the motion for the injunction, both sides agreed that the Souleses would hire Thomas Judd, a Freeport equine veterinarian, to review prior reports by two veterinarians hired by Bosse and examine the horse, if needed, to assess Knotty’s health.


Those conclusions were the basis of a hearing held Thursday in Androscoggin County Courthouse Law Library. Jayne Soules and Lisa Bosse testified at the hearing, before Justice Kennedy made her ruling.

Among other observations, Judd said in his reports that Knotty might respond to Lyme disease treatment as well as vitamin E and selenium, which he prescribed for the horse, according to testimony at Thursday’s hearing.

The court’s ruling would continue a preliminary injunction against Bosse’s action to euthanize Knotty for as long as the plaintiffs continue to pay Judd to treat the horse for Lyme disease and administer vitamin E and selenium. Judd will provide the Souleses and Bosse with periodic updates charting Knotty’s progress.

Kennedy said Knotty will continue to stay at River View Farm, given his “fragile” state of health, a term Judd used in his report.

If the Souleses were to stop paying Judd to treat Knotty, the injunction would be lifted, leaving Bosse to do with her horse as she deems fit, Kennedy said. But, she stressed, the Souleses have no obligation to hire Judd.

“There is no question that the horse belongs — is the property of Ms. Bosse,” Kennedy said, ending all hope that ownership of Knotty would revert to the Souleses. They had argued unsuccessfully that a clause in the bill of sale would allow them to regain possession of Knotty if Bosse no longer wanted him or was unwilling to care for him.


The language in the document stipulates that “the seller has first refusal to take said horse back.”

They had hoped to move Knotty to a different farm and have him treated there.

Although Judd apparently hadn’t diagnosed Knotty with a terminal illness nor recommended euthanizing the animal, the Freeport vet agreed with the other two vets who had concluded that the horse was at risk of a potentially “catastrophic fall” that could result in death by hypothermia, especially as winter approaches, given Knotty’s difficulty to regain his footing, said David Van Dyke, Bosse’s attorney.

Curtis Webber, attorney for the plaintiffs, argued that the Souleses, especially Jane Soules and her 24-year-old daughter, Josie, “would suffer irreparable harm if Knotty is put down before all the possibilities for improving his quality of life and his health are exhausted.”

Van Dyke said Bosse is a “horse lover who wants to do what’s humane.”

Kennedy said Judd made clear in his reports that Knotty is “getting the care and comfort and companionship at Ms. Bosse’s farm that is appropriate and that should continue.”

When Josie Soules is home for the holidays, she is welcome to visit Knotty at River View Farm, where she can take personal pictures of her childhood horse, Kennedy said, provided the photos “would not be used in any subsequent litigation.”

When asked whether the two parties would need to return to court in the event Knotty suffered a major health setback, Kennedy said: “I’m truly hopeful that rational minds will prevail at that point and you won’t have to come back and ask a judge whether it is necessary to put the horse down.”

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