Buffalo, NY (WBEN) Four years after raiding her farm, the SPCA has reached a stipulated settlement with Beth Hoskins over how many horses she may own.
Hoskins was convicted of 52 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty last summer after the SPCA Serving Erie County raided her farm in 2010, removing 74 horses and 53 cats that lasted longer than four years.
The stipulated settlement order currently states that Hoskins can own or possess 35 horses through October 31, 2016, provided the horses are in a safe, sanitary location, and that their care meets guidelines based on the New York State Horse Council's minimum standards of care. Regular, ongoing inspections through the terms of the agreement will be made by a court-appointed inspector who, together with the court, will decide the number of employees Hoskins will be required to hire, and for a specified number of hours per week.
Custody of all the horses will be transferred to Hoskins, who has until October 30 of this year to sell 33 of the horses, bringing the total of owned horses to 35. The first 16 horses must be sold or transferred by August 30.
When Aurora Town Justice Douglas Marky convicted Hoskins, he did not rule on the custody of the horses.
“In 21 years at the SPCA Serving Erie County, I have not seen a criminal judge fail to determine the disposition of animals in a case,” says SPCA Executive Director Barbara Carr. “Judge Marky, in the criminal case, chose to shift this responsibility onto Judge Glownia in the civil case, who has worked hard on this order for several months. He feels strongly that Ms. Hoskins must have custody of her horses to sell them, which is why he put together such a tight agreement.”
Carr adds, "This settlement order is not very different from what we were hoping for days after the rescue took place [March 18, 2010]. So many people have been involved with this case for so long. We need to be careful to maintain focus through this process. We need to be careful to not let angry feelings distract us from a resolution that keeps these animals 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."