73 Horses, 53 Cats, 4 Dogs Rescued by SPCA from East Aurora Property

Story Originated Thursday, March 18, 2010
By: Gina Browning, SPCA Director of Public Relations

Community Comes Together to Move Animals to Safe Environment

 
PHOTO ALBUM

Their lives are priceless...but their care is costly, averaging $22,000 per month.
PLEASE HELP US CARE FOR THESE ANIMALS AND GIVE THEM A BETTER FUTURE.
 
Financial donations can be made online here, or call the SPCA at 716-629-3532. 


UPDATE, JULY 8, 2013:  BETH HOSKINS FOUND GUILTY ON 52 COUNTS OF ANIMAL CRUELTY IN 3+ YEAR ANIMAL CRUELTY CASE.
________________________________________
UPDATE, JANUARY 30, 2012:
The SPCA has received written confirmation from Cornell University that Ariel, the horse who died earlier this month, did in fact die of a broken neck. In a report by Pathologist-in-charge Dr. Brian Caserto and Resident Pathologist Dr. Robert Ossiboff, "...no evidence of an underlying neurologic condition in the examined sections of [the] brain" existed.
________________________________________

UPDATE, JANUARY 6, 2012:
The SPCA has received verbal word from Cornell University that Ariel, the horse who died Tuesday, died of a broken neck. Ariel had run head first twice into a fence around the pasture at the stable in which she was residing. Doctors have also noted possible brain lesions. Brain lesions could potentially lead to a horse’s abnormal behavior. A written report on initial findings is expected early next week; histopathology reports on possible lesions will be returned within 10 – 12 business days.
________________________________________

UPDATE, JANUARY 5, 2012:  The SPCA Serving Erie County has received a court order for the necropsy of Ariel, the Morgan mare who passed away Tuesday. Officials here received verbal word from professionals at Cornell University that the necropsy will now be performed this afternoon. The necropsy will determine the cause of the horse's death. Keep watching YourSPCA.org for additional news on this case.

________________________________________

UPDATE, JANUARY 4, 2012:
The SPCA is sad to report the passing of one of the horses rescued from Beth Hoskins' East Aurora property, Eden Farm, March 18, 2010. Ariel, a Morgan mare approximately 21 years old, died the morning of Tuesday, January 3. Ariel had suffered from various medical issues since the summer of 2011. The SPCA transported Ariel to Cornell University hours after her death so professionals there could perform a necropsy. At the time of this writing, Hoskins is in the process of trying to stop this necropsy for reasons unknown.  "This horse has come so far in SPCA custody," says Barbara Carr, SPCA executive director (see before and after photos, directly below today's update). "Staff members and foster care volunteers became extremely attached to Ariel. Her death is devastating to many of us, and we want to do everything possible, at our expense, to determine just what led to her death." Keep watching YourSPCA.org for continuing news on this 22-month-old case. The first two photos you'll see below are Ariel directly following the March 18, 2010 rescue from Hoskins' property; the second photos are from, respectively,  July 21 and September 14, 2011, while Ariel was being cared for by the SPCA.

Ariel, March 2010.jpg

Ariel during March 18, 2010 rescue

Ariel in SPCA's care, July 21, 2011

Ariel in SPCA's care, September 14, 2011
________________________________________


UPDATE, JULY 13, 2011:
 
Another Delay in Horse Cruelty Case. Ruling on rescue warrant validity not expected for at least 7 weeks in Town of Aurora Court.

________________________________________

UPDATE, JULY 11, 2011: Eden Farm Horse Cruelty Case Judge Reveals Family Connection to Defendant Beth Hoskins. SPCA attorney submits letter requesting Hon. Joseph R. Glownia's recusal.

________________________________________

UPDATE, JUNE 29, 2011: 
Beth Hoskins, East Aurora Horse Owner Charged with Animal Cruelty, Rejects Plea Deal. In a move that surprised no one, the Eden Farm owner rejected a plea deal offered last night in Aurora Town Court. See the Buffalo News story here.
________________________________________ 

UPDATE, DECEMBER 20: See today's Buffalo News editorial on this case here. 
________________________________________


UPDATE, NOVEMBER 30:
NYS Supreme Court Judge Joseph R. Glownia has ordered Beth Lynne Hoskins to pay bond toward the care of her horses still in SPCA custody. However, the amount the judge ordered is less than half of what it costs the SPCA to provide the standard level of care any horse requires. The following is taken from an article written by the Buffalo News' Karen Robinson:

 

'A judge Tuesday ordered the Aurora horse farm owner accused of animal cruelty to post a $13,456.40 bond to the SPCA Serving Erie County to help pay for a month’s worth of care for 33 of her horses now under the agency’s supervision.

State Supreme Court Justice Joseph R. Glownia unexpectedly issued his decision after hearing testimony Monday in the civil case involving Beth Lynne Hoskins, who also is charged with 125 counts of animal cruelty.

The $13,456 figure is less than half of the $30,828 that the SPCA says it spends each month to cover full care for the horses, staff wages and security expenses. All but 10 of the 33 horses are housed at what’s known as the Bartz Farm in East Aurora, while the remaining ones are at a private horse barn in the village.

The SPCA was seeking a bond for $30,828 monthly to cover all of its care costs.

The agency plans to appeal Glownia’s one-month bond order to the Appellate Division in Rochester, said its attorney, Ralph C. Lorigo. He said the bond amount set by Glownia does not cover the agency’s cost for rent and boarding, nor does it adequately address staff wages, security expenses or the full amount of days in a typical month’s time.

“These horses are not easily boarded out anywhere,” Lorigo said. “The SPCA did its job properly. This court can’t find the ability to provide the reimbursement that the [state] statute provides.”

The court documents were not available Tuesday, but details of Glownia’s decision were discussed by Lorigo and Hoskins’ attorney, Thomas J. Eoannou.

“We’re happy that he awarded us a bond because we’re aware it could have gone the other way,” said Gina Browning, SPCA spokeswoman. “But we are extremely distressed over the amount. We’re getting less per horse per day than it would cost to put a dog in doggy day care for a day.”

In essence, Lorigo said, the judge’s figures are less than a quarter of the $31.14 daily that the SPCA says it costs for each horse.

SPCA officials, however, say the standard of care required for Hoskins’ needy and malnourished horses was far different from what most farms handle. Plus, security was needed for the horses, and they are considered evidence in the criminal animal-cruelty case pending against Hoskins.

“We’re not in the business of inflating fees and expenses as a nonprofit organization,” Browning said. “Of course, we’re going to provide security for the horses, as Beth [Hoskins] provides security for the horses.”

Browning said the SPCA was not looking to duplicate Hoskins’ standard of care.

“If the judge is using Hoskins’ standard of care, that is concerning. Our mission is to elevate the standard of care these horses are receiving. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have had to rescue them,” she said.

The SPCA wants bonding to supplement the cost of caring for the animals until the criminal case also is resolved, but Lorigo said it was indicated that the agency will have to contact the court every month regarding an updated bond, if needed.'

Read the full article here.
_________________________________________


UPDATE, NOVEMBER 29: SPCA representatives and attorneys are back in court today in front of NYS Supreme Court Judge Joseph R. Glownia for the bond hearing in the civil animal cruelty trial against Beth Lynne Hoskins, owner of "Eden Farm." In a November 27 editorial, the Buffalo News said, "Glownia needs to give this case the attention it deserves, for the sake of all involved....most immediately, though, he could ease the drain on the SPCA's limited resources by doing what the law allows." Read that editorial here.
_________________________________________

UPDATE, NOVEMBER 19: See the newest video released by the SPCA detailing last week's press conference, described below.  
_________________________________________

UPDATE, NOVEMBER 15: The SPCA held a press conference today to kick off the start of its new "The Real Cost of Animal Cruelty" campaign, designed in part to help raise additional funds for and awareness of the SPCA's ongoing care of 33 horses and several cats rescued from Beth Lynne Hoskins' "Eden Farm" in East Aurora on March 18.

SPCA Board of Directors President Larry Robb stressed the fact that the SPCA has spent well over $350,000 in caring for 33 of the rescued horses (73 horses were cared for through July 8). A breakdown of expenses is available here.

Executive Director Barbara Carr reminded the community that, whether New York State law considers horses companion animals or livestock (Hoskins has bounced back and forth between the two when describing her relationship - or lack thereof - with the horses), there is a standard of care all living creatures deserve that was not even being minimally met by Hoskins. Carr also stated that, although New York State law mandates bond hearings are heard in court within 10 days, we have now inexplicably reached business day #172 without New York State Supreme Court Judge Joseph R. Glownia hearing the SPCA's bond request.

Dr. Jean Feldman, a local large animal veterinarian present during the March 18 rescue, described in graphic detail the hardships of working with horses who could barely be handled in unsanitary conditions so extreme that performing the necessary veterinary work became dangerous.

In coming weeks, as part of the new campaign, SPCA representatives will recap the dramatic story of the rescue and what transpired over the last eight months here on YourSPCA.org and on the organization's Facebook page.  
_________________________________________

UPDATE, NOVEMBER 5: Once again, the bond hearing against Beth Lynne Hoskins, owner of Eden Farms, scheduled for this morning and Monday morning, November 8, has been postponed by New York State Supreme Court Judge Joseph R. Glownia despite his several orders that Hoskins retain counsel. Hoskins appeared in court this morning without confirmed counsel, despite three previous court orders from Judge Glownia that she hire new defense. Judge Glownia has now stated that Hoskins has until 5:00 pm today to confirm hired defense; he had previously ordered that Hoskins confirm hired defense by October 18, October 20, and prior to this morning. READ AN OPEN LETTER BY SPCA ATTORNEY RALPH C. LORIGO TO JUDGE GLOWNIA, ISSUED TODAY, HERE.

_________________________________________

UPDATE, NOVEMBER 4: The Hoskins animal cruelty criminal proceedings in Town of Aurora Court scheduled for yesterday were once again adjourned due to the unanswered question of whether Hoskins has secured defense attorneys. More information will be released as it becomes available.
_________________________________________

UPDATE, OCTOBER 25: The animal cruelty civil case against Beth Hoskins continues in Buffalo with a bond hearing scheduled for Friday and Monday, November 5 & 8, 2010. There is still no word on whether Hoskins has followed NYS Supreme Court Judge Joseph R. Glownia's order to have hired a defense attorney prior to October 21. Concerning the Hoskins’ animal cruelty criminal trial, further proceedings are scheduled in Town of Aurora Court Wednesday, November 3, at 5:00 pm.
_________________________________________

UPDATE, OCTOBER 21: At this time the SPCA has received no news as to whether Beth Hoskins has complied with New York State Supreme Court Judge Joseph R. Glownia’s wishes for her to have hired a defense attorney by day’s end yesterday. 

This week’s SPCA inspections of Hoskins’ “Eden Farms” property in East Aurora have shown a marked improvement in conditions of stables and stalls after inspectors’ expressed concerns last week that conditions regarding cleanliness continued to worsen at an alarming rate, as detailed in photographs and video tapes, with no improvement. 

The sudden cleaning coincided with a scheduled inspection of Hoskins’ property by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS,  a voluntary, non-regulatory technical and financial assistance agency) that took place Friday, October 15 in preparation for her scheduled Agricultural Environmental Management inventory, evaluation, and planning meeting Friday, October 22. These meetings were requested by Hoskins. 

Health status of the 40 court-ordered returned horses is in question; some of the horses’ hooves are overgrown with no evidence of required farrier care, and there have been medical issues with specific horses that, upon inspections, are worsening. The SPCA has issued a subpoena for any veterinary and farrier records which, if in existence, are being withheld by Hoskins from inspectors.

Keep watching YourSPCA.org for news on future civil trial dates.

Concerning the Hoskins’ animal cruelty criminal trial, further proceedings are scheduled in Town of Aurora Court Wednesday, November 3, at 5:00 pm.
_________________________________________

UPDATE, OCTOBER 20:  
Read an account of the March 18, 2010 animal rescue from one witness' perspective 
_________________________________________

UPDATE, OCTOBER 20:
   VIDEOFor the second time this week, Beth Hoskins appeared before New York State Supreme Court Judge Joseph R. Glownia at today's rescheduled attorney meeting with no hired defense, despite the fact that she was ordered Monday, October 18,  to have an attorney hired and present at this morning's meeting. Hoskins had previously been ordered to hire a new attorney prior to Monday's meeting (see October 12's update). She has now been ordered  to have a newly-hired attorney contact the court prior to the end of the business day today. A bond hearing was said to be scheduled within the next two weeks. On July 6 (see below), Judge Glownia ordered 40 horses returned to Hoskins' property, however, the horses are still part of the animal cruelty case and SPCA Rescue Team officers make regular inspections of Hoskins' property in any known areas in which animals are housed. SEE VIDEO ON TODAY'S STORY ON WGRZ-TV, CH. 2.

_________________________________________

UPDATE, OCTOBER 18:
   Beth Hoskins, although ordered by New York State Supreme Court Judge Joseph R. Glownia October 12 to hire new defense prior to this morning's attorney meeting, showed up in court with no hired defense. Judge Glownia has rescheduled the attorney's meeting to Wednesday, October 20, 9:30 am, and has ordered Hoskins to appear with hired defense.
_________________________________________

UPDATE, OCTOBER 14: New York State Supreme Court Judge Joseph R. Glownia has ordered Beth Hoskins not to sell or remove any of the court-ordered returned 40 horses from her property (see July 6's update). Read the story in today's Buffalo News.
_________________________________________

UPDATE, OCTOBER 12:
Beth Hoskins has fired her defense team. As a result, the bond hearing originally scheduled for this week (see October 11 update) has been postponed.  An attorney's meeting with Judge Glownia has been set for Monday, October 18, and the judge has ordered Hoskins to have her newly-appointed attorney present at that meeting; the court has stated that a new bond hearing will be scheduled within the next two weeks. There is still no date announced for the next appearance in Town of Aurora Court on Hoskins' criminal animal cruelty case. Keep watching YourSPCA.org for further updates in both the criminal and civil trials.
_________________________________________

UPDATE, OCTOBER 11: Beth Hoskins is scheduled to appear in front of New York State Supreme Court Judge Joseph R. Glownia Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, October 13, 14, and 15 for the continuation of the bond hearing. SPCA Serving Erie County officers continue to visit the Hoskins property, and the 40 horses ordered returned to the East Aurora farm, a minimum of once each week and often, more frequently.
_________________________________________

UPDATE, SEPTEMBER 1
: Further motions in the Beth Hoskins animal cruelty case have been scheduled for Monday, September 13, 4:00 pm in Town of Aurora Court.
_________________________________________

UPDATE, AUGUST 19
: Beth Hoskins was arraigned last night in Town of Aurora Court on an additional count of animal cruelty, bringing the total to 125 counts. The additional charge was placed after the SPCA received information from Katherine Fitzgerald of Springville Veterinary Associates regarding a horse that needed to be euthanized in November, "...suffering miserably" after being neglected. The following article appeared in the Buffalo News and on BuffaloNews.com today:

Horse Farm Owner Faces New Charge
By Mary B. Pasciak
From BuffaloNews.com

Aurora horse farm owner Beth Lynne Hoskins was arraigned Wednesday in Aurora Town Court on her 125th count of animal cruelty, after a veterinarian who worked for her came forward saying a horse had to be euthanized on the farm last year due to neglect.
 
 

The veterinarian went further, blasting the "severely unsanitary and inhumane" conditions on the farm.

"Beth Hoskins should not be allowed to own any animals due to the fact that she is completely unable to provide even the most basic standard of care for them," Katherine Fitzgerald of Springville Veterinary Associates said in a deposition.

In the deposition taken Tuesday, Fitzgerald said she got a call from Hoskins on Nov. 26, 2009 -- Thanksgiving Day -- about a horse with an eye injury. When Fitzgerald arrived, Hoskins told her that another horse, Misty, was on the ground in another barn and unable to get up.

Misty was so weak that she could not raise her head, even after the veterinarian tried to help several times, Fitzgerald said.

"This horse has been neglected, left in unsanitary, unhealthful conditions, left without food, water, proper medical treatment and care to the point of severe emaciation and the need for immediate euthanasia to end her suffering," Fitzgerald said in her deposition.

Outside the courtroom, Hoskins' lawyers, Barry N. Covert and George V.C. Muscato, questioned why the veterinarian waited so long to come forward with her concerns, especially after the much-publicized seizure of more than 70 horses from Hoskins in March.

"Are you kidding me -- nine months later, she's claiming something happened? This is the bottom of the barrel, as far as we're concerned," Muscato said. "The medical records we've seen certainly don't support this."

This is the first charge against Hoskins involving an animal that died. Until Wednesday, all of Hoskins' charges involved horses and cats the SPCA Serving Erie County seized in March.

Hoskins said the day Misty was euthanized was "the saddest day of my life." She attributed the horse's condition to old age -- the horse was about 25 years old -- and complications from a hip injury the horse suffered before Hoskins bought it in 2004.

"It's sad, but it's part of the normal life cycle of horses," Hoskins said.

Barbara S. Carr, executive director of the SPCA, was quick to differ. "Just because you're old doesn't mean you're thin, dehydrated or weak," said Carr, who attended the court proceeding. "This animal suffered miserably and subsequently died. This is pretty damning -- from her own vet."

Fitzgerald said in her deposition that the horse Hoskins initially called her about last November, Electra, had an eye injury as much as a week old. Because the injury had gone untreated so long, she said, the horse had only minimal vision in that eye.

When she found Electra in the barn, Fitzgerald said, she had to struggle to open the stall door because the stall was filled with "several feet" of manure. The horse was rarely handled and had never been haltered or halter-broken, she said in the deposition. Hoskins was not able to touch the horse -- not an unusual situation on that farm, Fitzgerald said in her deposition.

"When dealing with Beth Hoskins and her horses for the past three years, it was apparent that she is unable to handle the majority of them, and she acts afraid of many of them. She is unable to care for the number of animals on her farm, and she insists on continuing to acquire more animals unnecessarily," the veterinarian said in the deposition.

Hoskins pleaded not guilty on Wednesday; she already has pleaded not guilty to the 10 animal cruelty counts that were filed against her in May and the 114 additional counts in July.

In March, the SPCA seized 73 horses and 53 cats from her farm. A house cat and a barn cat were returned to Hoskins, who signed away ownership of 41 of the cats. They have since been adopted. Of the remaining 10 cats, one died, Carr said. Hoskins has not tried to reclaim the other nine cats, Carr said.

Forty horses have been returned to Hoskins, by order of State Supreme Court Justice Joseph R. Glownia. The other 33 remain in the care of the SPCA, at a cost of $825 a day. The SPCA has spent $300,000 caring for Hoskins' horses, Carr said.

Read the full article at BuffaloNews.com

UPDATE, JULY 29: During further proceedings in Beth Hoskins' civil case today, the SPCA announced it will appeal State Supreme Court Justice Joseph R. Glownia's earlier decision to order 40 horses returned to Hoskins. Testimonies also began in the civil trial. No decision has been made by Judge Glownia on the bond being sought by the SPCA from Hoskins to place towards the care of her horses while in SPCA custody.  A date for further proceedings in the civil trial has not been set at this time. Read more on this afternoon's developments here.
_________________________________________

UPDATE, JULY 21: Beth Hoskins is scheduled to appear in Town of Aurora Court Wedneday, August 18, for further criminal proceedings on 124 counts of animal cruelty. Concerning the civil case, further proceedings remain scheduled for Thursday, July 29 in front of NYS Supreme Court Judge Joseph R. Glownia.
_________________________________________

UPDATE, JULY12:
An additional 114 animal cruelty charges were filed against Beth Hoskins by the SPCA after notification from the Erie County District Attorney's office that it would like to move ahead with one animal cruelty charge for each animal rescued from Hoskins' properties in March (with the exception of six animals, two cats and four dogs, who were returned to Hoskins earlier this year).  Hoskins is scheduled to appear in Town of Aurora Court on these criminal charges this Wednesday, July 14, 4:00 pm. 

NYS Supreme Court Judge Joseph R. Glownia adjourned this morning's civil case to Thursday, July 29, pending Hoskins' arraignment of the additional 114 charges on Wednesday.
_________________________________________

UPDATE, JULY 6:
  Earlier today in civil case proceedings, New York State Supreme Court Judge Joseph R. Glownia ordered 40 horses rescued from an East Aurora property on March 18, 2010 returned to Beth Hoskins. Read the full story.
_________________________________________

UPDATE, JULY 1:
 SPCA Releases Statement, Photos on March 18 Rescue of 73 horses, 53 cats, 4 dogs from East Aurora Property. READ THE UPDATE, SEE VIDEOS, PHOTOS, AND MORE.
_________________________________________

UPDATE, JUNE 21: Read the  June 15 update on Hoskins' civil trial. Civil proceedings continue Tuesday, June 29, 10:00 am in New York State Supreme Court in Buffalo. There is still no announced date for further proceedings in the Hoskins alleged animal cruelty criminal case in Town of Aurora Court.
_________________________________________

UPDATE, MAY 26:
  Beth Hoskins was formally charged with 10 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty by the SPCA Serving Erie County on May 17. Hoskins has been ordered to appear in Town of Aurora Court tonight, Wednesday, May 26, 5:00 pm. The SPCA continues to work on the civil case concerning the March 18 rescue of 73 horses, 53 cats, and 4 dogs from Hoskins' East Aurora property. WONDERING WHY THERE WERE JUST 10 CHARGES OF ANIMAL CRUELTY IN A CASE INVOLVING 130 ANIMALS?   READ THE ANSWER.
_________________________________________

UPDATE, APRIL 23:
  Over the course of the next one/two weeks, the horses that were rescued from an East Aurora property on March 18 will gradually be transported to various foster locations (see the national organization currently in town helping us with horse evaluation, destressing, and transportation). The horses are still in the custody of the SPCA and will continue to be cared for by shelter employees. Twelve of the horses will be housed at the SPCA’s farm located at its 205 Ensminger Road, Tonawanda location.  Animal cruelty charges are still pending in this case.
_________________________________________

UPDATE, MARCH 25:
 
ASPCA® responders and representatives of the American Humane Association have arrived in Erie County to assist with rescued animals. Read the full story here.
_________________________________________

UPDATE, MARCH 22:
Charges are still pending against the owner of more than 125 animals rescued by the SPCA March 18, victims of alleged animal cruelty. The animals are currently in a safe environment and members of the community have been extremely generous in helping the SPCA with its efforts to care for the animals. "People are driving up and dropping off supplies, donations...they're even bringing our folks lunches and dinners," says Barbara Carr, SPCA Executive Director. "There is no way this would be possible without so many caring people coming together to help these animals." Desperately needed at the present time are:  Rubber Stall Mats   *   Lead Lines   *   Timothy or other Grass Hay   *   Large Plastic Storage Totes with Lids   *   Lawn Rakes   *   Garden Rakes   *   Standard Future Forks   *   5- and 6-Gallon Water Buckets.
If you can help by donating any of these items or by making a financial donation, please call the SPCA at 716-629-3532. Financial donations can also be made online here.

_________________________________________

The SPCA Serving Erie County rescued 73 horses, 53 cats, and 4 dogs from deplorable conditions on an Emery Road, East Aurora property Thursday, March 18. Animal cruelty charges are pending against the owner of the animals.

"We have received anonymous complaints on this particular property in recent months. We were unable to proceed, however, because, although we appreciate and respond to every anonymous tip we receive, there is little that can be done legally without signed statements," said SPCA Executive Director Barbara Carr. "In addition, the complaints we received from people not asking to be kept anonymous were complaints on issues that were not illegal. We may not feel they're morally right, but the law must be followed. These facts infuriate us as much as the complainants, but our hands are tied in situations such as these."

This week, however, the SPCA received the information it needed to obtain a warrant, legally enter the Emery Road property, and rescue the animals. The monumental feat was possible due to help from members of the "horse community" near and far, who gave up an entire day to come and assist in the rescue and transport the large animals.

According to Lindsey Styborksi, SPCA Cruelty Investigator and licensed NYS peace officer, "Some of the images I saw yesterday will never leave my mind. If they were residing in any kind of acceptable conditions, of course it would have been easier to leave them, give the owner time to clean up, monitor the efforts, and inspect regularly until the animals were in a clean environment. But when I saw what these animals were living in, when I saw what they looked like, there was just no way...any animal lover would feel the way I felt and would do whatever it takes...however long it takes...to help them. "

All horses rescued are in SPCA custody at an undisclosed location. Any medical needs are being provided. The dogs and cats from the property are at the SPCA's Tonawanda shelter and at the time of this writing are being medically evaluated.

"We could have listed pages of reasons to not fully engage in this rescue," says SPCA Director of Public Relations Gina Browning. " 'Caring for this many horses will be too costly.'  'We'll never be able to move 73 horses, and who will care for them if we do?' 'Where are we going to PUT 73 horses? It's just not possible.' 'How can we consider taking on more animals than we have on-site and off-site right now? We're already crowded!' And the reasons go on. But once we entered the housing structures (some filled with holes and jagged, exposed wood) and laid eyes on these beautiful animals caked in excrement, trying to stand in the piles of feces covering the floors of their stalls, all the while trying to drink and eat substances also covered in waste, every one of those reasons left our minds. All we could focus on was getting the animals out of there."

She adds, "The phrase 'unsanitary conditions,' often used when referring to similar cases, ironically seems so sterile. Horrific. Deplorable. Sickening. Abominable. Abhorrent. These were the very real conditions in which these soulful horses were living while, according to reports we've received, allegedly rarely or never receiving time outside of their stalls. I cannot imagine anyone aware of the reality of the situation expecting anything from our organization other than a full rescue."

"This will cost, no doubt about it," says SPCA Deputy Director and Animal Cruelty Investigations Coordinator Beth Shapiro. "As always, we turn to the community for help in providing the sustenance and care these animals deserve. The SPCA has a long-standing commitment to this community: to protect our animals and prevent animal cruelty. Every single donor...every single volunteer...is a partner in helping us save these animals, and this case is the largest and most costly in four decades, maybe longer. Our staff, our volunteers, and these animals need our partners now more than ever."

PLEASE HELP THESE RESCUED ANIMALS and GIVE ONLINE TODAY. You can also donate by calling 716-629-3532. Those with questions about in-kind donations and/or volunteering to help can also call this phone number.

Keep watching YourSPCA.org for updates on this animal rescue.

See videos and photos of the animals in their relocated housing environments back in March at  WGRZ-TVWIVB-TV, and WKBW-TV. See photos at Newsradio 930 WBEN. See the latest statement and videos from July 1, 2010 here.

***************************************************************
Since the March 18 rescue of 130 animals from Beth Hoskins' "Eden Farms" East Aurora property, the SPCA Serving Erie County has received incredible help from members of the community, especially members of the "horse community" in Western New York.  This note was sent to the SPCA by one of the representatives who assisted on-site the day of the rescue. The author writes with such passion and affectingly describes March 18, 2010:
 
"I was a witness to the horse seizure that the SPCA conducted on March 18th and as a first-hand witness and an animal-lover I wish to make the following observations/comments.

All living creatures have the God-given right to live their lives in relative comfort, having their basic needs met...food, shelter, warmth (clothing.) Although having basic needs met will keep man or animal alive from day to day, no on can argue the importance of human touch, empathy and a sense of worth. The horses on Emery Road were dehydrated, there were no feed buckets in stalls, there was no grain to be found, I counted 7 bales of hay. Food, the first of their basic needs was not met. The barns in which the horses were kept were less that adequate. One of the barns did have sides to keep out the cold Buffalo weather; the other had only a roof, blue tarps hung on the sides of the building torn from the winter winds.  Another basic need not met. For humans the third basic need is clothing, for horses God has provided a coat that grows long and thick in the colder winter months as long as they are fed properly. It is up to the horse's caregiver to provide shelter against the winter cold. These horses did not have the proper nutrition to grow a healthy winter coat nor did they have the shelter needed to keep them "clothed." The last of the basic needs not met.

Although the horses of Emery Road did not have their needs met they managed to survive on what little food, shelter and clothing they did receive. This is an enormous testament to the will and hardiness of the Morgan horse.

For me and so many others involved in the seizure the most disturbing revelation was the fact that these horses were deprived of human touch, pasture play with other horses, sunshine, fresh air, and the bonding a good grooming can provide. They did not trust, they lived in fear of what existed beyond their 12 x 12 prison. The simple act of walking into a stall and putting a halter on one of these animals was at times a 3 to 4 hour ordeal. Unfortunately, many of the horses had to be sedated to make the task safer for both humans and horses.  Once the horses were haltered, they were gently persuaded to leave their stalls. Most were absolutely terrified of what existed beyond the threshold of their stall door. They would resist to the point of trying to climb the 12 foot walls or going through the holes that existed between the stalls.  One small stallion of about 2 or 3 years old actually sat down and refused to step out into the hallway of the barn. Once his feet crossed from the manure filled stall out into the hard floor of the aisle way he found it difficult to walk on the hard mats. Most of the horses found relief in reaching the trailers so that they could find 4 walls around them once again.

After 12 hours, my husband and I left that day with a sense of sadness for all involved, humans and horses, unsure how anyone could let things "get that bad." The drive home was quiet as we reflected on the days events. We pulled up our driveway, arriving home later than usual to bring our 4 horses into the shelter of our stable. They whinnied to us and ran to the gate to wait patiently for the humans they trusted to bring them into the barn where a clean stall, grain, hay and fresh water waited for them. Once in their stalls we removed their halters, gave them each a pat that was met with a nudge of affection. We sat down on a hay bale and just watched them content in their stalls. We knew they would sleep well on clean bedding with full bellies and if horses do dream, they dreamt of rolling in the grass, feeling the sunshine, breathing fresh air through their flaring nostrils as they run along the acres of thick pasture and playing halter tag with their friends. It finally felt OK to cry...and we did."

 

_________________________________________

Those who witness a situation that might constitute
cruelty and/or violence toward animals in Erie County,
including animals left outdoors with inappropriate
shelter in yards, are encouraged to report the
circumstances to the SPCA Serving Erie County:
716-875-7360.  


IN AFTER-HOURS ANIMAL CRUELTY OR ANIMAL
RESCUE EMERGENCIES, PLEASE CALL THE SPCA
AT 716-712-0251. Officers will respond to anonymous
complaints.