Plea Entered in New York Cruelty Case

A New York Morgan horse breeder and trainer accused of maltreating animals at her Erie County farm pleaded not guilty to multiple animal cruelty charges during an appearance in East Aurora Town Court on May 26.

In March, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Serving Erie County removed 73 allegedly neglected horses from Beth Hoskins' Aurora, N.Y., farm. More than 50 cats and four dogs were also removed from the property. All the animals were placed in the agency’s care. Since their seizure, the horses have been residing in foster homes, where they have been receiving rehabilitative care, said SPCA spokesperson Gina Browning.

Hoskins was later charged with 10 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty for the alleged neglect of seven horses and three cats.

On May 26, Hoskins pleaded not guilty to all of the charges. Her attorneys, Barry N. Covert and George V.C. Muscato, sought the case’s dismissal on grounds that no abuse took place. They also asked the court to return the 66 horses not represented in the charges to Hoskins.

"They are only charging on seven, so they have no reason to retain the other horses," Muscato said.

Browning was not surprised by Hoskins' plea, but said it does not represent the more important issue in the case.

"The more important issue, in our eyes, is that these horses are cared for properly in the future," she said.

No court date in the criminal case has been set.

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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