Hoskins Animal Cruelty Trial Resumes | News
EAST AURORA, N.Y. - Court has resumed in the animal cruelty case of Beth Hoskins and is expected to continue into next week. 73 horses were seized from Hoskins during an Erie County SPCA raid on her horse farm in March of 2010.
Sheila Foss, Educational Farm Manager for the Erie County SPCA, took the stand to recount her evaluations of those horses as both "below average" and "emaciated."
The defense argues that the type of evaluation used by the SPCA, The Henneke Scoring System, is outdated and shouldn't have been grounds to seize the horses. The scoring system started in 1983 rates horses on a wellness scale from 1 to 9 that can be determined regardless of breed or body type. Defense Attorney Thomas Eoannou argued that the evaluation could be perceived as subjective and inconsistent.
"A normal, healthy herd would fall in the average of 4, 5 or 6," said Foss.
Of the 73 horses evaluated by the Erie County SPCA, 25 horses received a score of above 3, indicating that some horses were experiencing a variety of health issues ranging from malnutrition to hoof distortion.
Another witness, Joshua Burkhardt, who specializes in horse care, also testified that all seventy-three of the horses showed signs of "severe" neglect, bruising and hoof damage. Burkhardt assisted the SPCA in their medical evaluation of Hoskin's horses after they were seized.
"[The horses] all had characteristics of bruising," said Burkhardt. "They all showed signs of extensive heel growth and neglect. Some would have been extremely painful to the point where they would have affected their balance."
Hoskins faces seventy-four misdemeanor counts of animal abuse. Day four of the trial will resume next Thursday in East Aurora Court.
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