Hoskins to Serve Probation, Pay Fines for Mistreating Horses

Beth Hoskins, the New York farm operator found guilty of mistreating dozens of Morgan Horses, received her sentence last week.

In March 2010, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Serving Erie County removed 73 allegedly neglected horses from Hoskins’ Aurora, N.Y., farm. The SPCA alleged the animals were living in filth in several barns, thin, and dehydrated. The horses were placed under SPCA care.

Hoskins was later charged with 74 counts of animal cruelty under the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law. She pleaded not guilty.

Over the course of the next three years, one of the horses in foster care under SPCA auspices died. Meanwhile, Hoskins sought the return of several of her surviving horses and has been pitted against the SPCA in a civil suit over the cost of the care and maintenance of horses connected to the criminal suit. That civil case remains pending.

In July 2013, Hoskins was found guilty in Town of Aurora Justice Court on 52 counts of the 74 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty. During the same proceeding, Hoskins was acquitted on 22 animal cruelty counts.

A representative for the Town of Aurora Justice Court said that on Oct. 31, Hoskins appeared in court for sentencing and was ordered to serve three years' probation and to pay $52,410 in fines. Hoskins was also ordered to participate in court-ordered counseling and treatment and was sentenced to serve 500 hours of community service, the representative said. A representative for the court's clerk office said Hoskins did not receive a court-ordered ban on animal ownership and, as a result, was allowed to keep 52 Morgan Horses in her care.

“There were however 14 conditions on her probation and one of those conditions is that the horses will be monitored and that she must have one (monitor) for every 15 horses,” the representative said.

The court ruled also ruled that Hoskins must reside in Erie County and may not leave western New York state without permission, the representative said.

Hoskins' attorney Thomas J. Eoannou was unavailable for comment on the sentencing.

Gina Browning, representative for the SPCA Serving Erie County, was also unavailable for comment.

Erie County District Attorney Michael Drmacich said he recommended that Hoskins serve jail time and stands by his decision.

“I had a job to do and I recommended jail time based on the nature of the crimes and the fact that Hoskins showed no remorse,” Drmacich said. “But I also understand that the judge had a job to do, and it's not my place to crticize him.”

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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