Hoskins, Humane Group Reach Settlement over Horses

Beth Hoskins, a Morgan Horse breeder found guilty of animal cruelty, and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Serving Erie County, New York, have reached a settlement that allows 35 horses to return to Hoskins' care.

In March 2010 the SPCA Serving Erie County removed 73 allegedly neglected, thin, and dehydrated horses from Hoskins’ Aurora, New York farm. She was later charged with 74 counts of animal cruelty, to which she pleaded not guilty.

In July 2013 Hoskins was found guilty on 52 counts of the 74 misdemeanor animal cruelty counts; during the same proceeding she was acquitted on the remaining 22 counts.

In October 2013 Hoskins was ordered to serve three years' probation, pay $52,410 in fines, participate in court-ordered counseling and treatment, and serve 500 hours of community service. Hoskins did not receive a court-ordered ban on animal ownership.

A written statement from the SPCA Serving Erie County said that, during a May 13 appearance before New York Supreme Court Judge Joseph Glownia, Hoskins and the SPCA Serving Erie County entered into a stipulated settlement whereby Hoskins is permitted own 35 horses through Oct. 31, 2016, provided the horses are kept in a safe, sanitary location and their care meet guidelines based on the N.Y. Horse Council's minimum standards of care. Under the settlement regular ongoing inspections will be made by a court-appointed inspector, who will also determine the number of employees Hoskins is required to hire and the number of hours those employees work.

Hoskins will obtain custody of all the horses involved in the cruelty case, provided she sell 33 horses by Oct. 30, 2014, the statement said; the first 16 horses must be sold or transferred by Aug. 30, the statement said.

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

Barbara Carr, executive director of the SPCA Serving Erie County, said the settlement reflects a need to keep the horses safe.

"This isn't our first attempt at a resolution; in four years, however, it's the first one we felt protects the animals into the future,” Carr said. “This settlement order is not very different from what we were hoping for days after the rescue took place.”

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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