On July 12, horse farm owner Beth Hoskins was charged with 114 additional counts of animal cruelty. Earlier this year, the SPCA Serving Erie County seized 73 horses and dozens of cats and dogs from her Aurora, NY, property. The ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team was deployed to manage the sheltering and care of the seized horses, while the remaining animals were signed over to the SPCA. Hoskins now faces up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine, per count.
Despite the pending charges, State Supreme Court Justice Joseph R. Glownia ordered the SPCA to return 40 of the seized horses to Hoskins. The unexpected ruling fell under the condition that Hoskins hire additional employees to care for the animals and adequate care be provided. The SPCA retained the right to inspect the returned horses and to monitor their care—the remaining 33 horses are still under their authority.
“While the animals were cared for by the ASPCA, they received medical, physical and environmental enrichment vital to their daily well-being—more importantly, time was spent helping them to rebuild their broken spirits,” says Jeff Eyre, ASPCA Northeast Director of Field Investigations and Response. “I can only hope that the same level of proper care will be maintained under these new circumstances.”
Hoskins pleaded not guilty to all charges and was released without bail. She is ordered to return to court on August 18. To date, the total cost of the investigation, including animal care, has exceeded $200,000. Aside from the ongoing criminal case, a civil suit is pending charging Hoskins with the outstanding balance.
“These are definitely some very serious charges,” said Eyre. “But it’s important to remember that each animal involved is considered a separate charge under the law.”
To read the full account of the ASPCA’s recent intervention, please visit our Raids and Investigations section.