The stable owner who cared for 29 horses belonging to convicted animal abuser Beth Hoskins is speaking out.
Hoskins was convicted of 52 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty in 2013. The East Aurora woman was ordered to sell 29 of her horses. However, those animals are now back at her farm.
On Tuesday, December 22nd, Hoskins told the media that, "I see a light at the end of the tunnel," after Supreme Court Justice Glownia ordered her to complete a sale of her horses that was reportedly in the works.
When asked if the sale would be completed that week, Hoskins told reporters, "it is closed." The court told Hoskins that she had days to sell the horses and move them to a new home.
According to the attorney for the SPCA, those horses were supposed to be sold to a farm in Monroe County. Hoskins blamed an investigation by the Monroe County SPCA on stalling the sale, although the organization denied those allegations.
Since August, the horses were living at a farm in Lockport owned by Marie Bennett.
"Not just frustrated, but very emotional," is how Bennett describes the last few days. "Those are very nice horses. We got attached to them when they were here."
Bennett said the horses were only supposed to stay with her for two weeks, according to a verbal agreement with Hoskins. However, that turned into several months.
Over the weekend, a trailer showed up to supposedly take the horses to a new home near Rochester in multiple trips.
However, Bennett was suspicious. The horses pick-up date was already moved back several times. Bennett then saw the trailer turn the wrong direction to head to Rochester. She said she got in a car with her boyfriend and followed the trailer, each time it picked up the horses, back to Hoskins farm in East Aurora.
"So now they're right back full circle to where the whole nightmare started," Bennett stated. "They're all back on her farm."
Bennett also said that Hoskins shortchanged her, and still owes nearly $7,000 in food and care provided to the horses. Hoskins, outside of court last week, stated that, "many people tried taking advantage of situations," when asked about the money allegedly owed.
Attorneys representing Hoskins and the SPCA plan to meet with Justice Glownia on Tuesday to see if those horses, plus the 35 already on Hoskins farm, should go into receivership. Glownia had previously ruled that if the sale failed, Hoskins would lose all of her horses.
Ralph Lorigo, the SPCA attorney, told 7 Eyewitness News that due court order violations, Hoskins could be sentenced to time behind bars.
Lorigo says he has confirmed with Hoskins attorney that the horses are back at Hoskins farm.
7 Eyewitness News reporter Rachel Elzufon called Hoskins on the phone to ask for a comment regarding this latest turn in a case that is almost six years old. Hoskins told her that she "does not have a comment at this time."
Barbara Carr, the Executive Director of the SPCA, says the latest development left her "speechless," but not surprised.
"They were supposedly going to a farm that already had 40 horses with an eight stall barn. How are they going to take on 29 more horses," Carr stated.
Glownia has granted Hoskins multiple extensions already and has been scrutinized by the SPCA.
Buffalo attorney Mitch Banas has no connection on the Hoskins case and says he cannot comment on it. However, he explains the legal process of situations like this.
"If parties offer compelling reasons to grant an extension in respect to a court order, it's not all that unusual for a judge to do that," said Banas.
The SPCA claimed court orders have been violated multiple times.
"The courts also look at the parties intent. Assuming the court order was violated, it will look at why it was violated," Banas explains.
A woman who wishes to remain anonymous tells Rachel Elzufon that she has offered $100 to buy of Hoskins horses. It remains unclear if that could impact Tuesday's hearing.
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