SPCA to return horses to farm owner convicted of animal cruelty

AURORA, N.Y. (WIVB) – A stipulated settlement has been reached in the case against a horse farm owner convicted of 52 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty last summer.

Seventy-four horses and 53 cats were seized during a raid at Beth Hoskins’ Town of Aurora farm in March 2010, and since then, most have remained in the care of the Erie County SPCA. Now the animals will be returned to Hoskins.

However, per the settlement, through October 31, 2016, Hoskins is only allowed to own or possess a total of 35 horses. The animals must meet minimum standards of care, which will be checked by a court-appointed inspector. She must also hire a specific number of employees who will have to work a certain amount of hours, based on the number of horses she keeps.

The Erie County SPCA will transfer the horses to Hopkins, who has until October 30 to sell 33 of them, so that she only has a total of 35 horses. The first 16 of those horses must be sold or transferred by August 30.

This case has been ongoing for four years and both Hoskins and the Erie County SPCA have spent millions of dollars in court costs.

After being convicted last summer, Hoskins was sentenced in October to community service and fined around $50,000.

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