Owners React to N.Y. Abuse Plea Deal

When she learned that Geraldine Trupia pleaded guilty to two counts of animal cruelty for neglecting horses at her Steuben County, N.Y., breeding farm, Quakertown, Pa., horse owner Virginia Stack was too focused on bringing her Thoroughbred mare Sharp Gal home to give the development much thought.

"The real news was that I could bring my horse back on Oct. 14," Stack said.

Sharp Gal had been residing at Trupia's Norcrest Farm in Troupsburg, N.Y., on a breeding lease and was one of 82 neglected horses seized by Finger Lakes Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) on Aug. 29 and 30. Five horses died after the seizure and 77 were placed in foster homes. Stack feared that Sharp Gal was among the euthanized horses until the SPCA confirmed the mare had survived.

Following the seizure, Trupia was charged with five misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty for failure to provide the horses with adequate food, water, and other care. If convicted, she could face one year imprisonment for each count. On Oct. 1, Trupia pleaded guilty to two cruelty counts in connection with a plea bargain that included two three-year supervised probation terms.

"I just hope the probation prevents her from moving and doing this someplace else," Stack said.

But the owner of another seized horse believes the agreement's penalties are too light. Anne Maria Cray's horse WeWe C was also at Norcrest Farm on a breeding lease when the seizure took place. Due to her extremely weakened condition, the mare was euthanized shortly after the seizure.

"I think it's critical that we make things very uncomfortable for Trupia," Cray said. That's why she is considering a civil suit against Trupia in the amount of WeWe C's value."We have to set an example through her."

Trupia will appear in court again on Nov. 12 for sentencing. By then Sharp Gal will be back in her home stall at Stack's Wishful Thinking Farm.

"I'm so sorry we all had to go through this," Stack said.

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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