East Aurora Town Justice Douglas Marky found Hoskins guilty on 52 out of 74 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. Hoskins faced dozens of counts after SPCA agents seized animals from her farm back in March 2010. Marky read out all 74 verdicts along with the names of the horses attached to each charge to a mixed reaction from the packed courtroom.
"This was just the first step in a long process" Hoskins said after the sentencing. She plans to appeal the judge's decision. Hoskins added that she has spent over $1 million combined in legal fees and payments to the SPCA for the care of the horses that were seized.
Hoskins maintains that some photographs of the malnourished horses used as evidence were taken months after the horses were taken off her property and placed into the care of the SPCA.
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SPCA Executive Director Barbara Carr said that she doesn't necessarily feel vindicated by the judge's decision, and doesn't feel that the SPCA was overzealous in their actions seizing the horses from Hoskin's property. "We don't go in to a case without doing our homework and knowing what we're doing" Carr said. "I'm not at all surprised that we got to this point."
Hoskins claimed the SPCA was overzealous in its investigation. The SPCA says it cost more than $1 million to care for the horses and other animals seized over the years.
Hoskins will be sentenced on September 26th.