Buffalo Area SPCA Releases Photos of Confiscated Horses

7:06 PM, Jul 1, 2010   |    comments
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Video: 6pm Report - SPCA Releases Photos of Confiscated Horses

  • Picture released by SPCA
  • Picture released by SPCA
  • Picture released by SPCA
  • Picture released by SPCA
  • Picture released by SPCA

TONAWANDA, N.Y. - The Erie County S.P.C.A. released pictures of horses taken from an East Aurora farm in mid March because they were allegedly living in poor conditions.

You can view all of the photos at our photo gallery.

The organization said it released the photos because the owner of the horses, Beth Hoskins, continues to insist the S.P.C.A. has overblown the problems. Hoskins is trying to convince a judge to release at least 40 of her horses back into her custody.

The S.P.C.A. is trying to prevent that.

The pictures, taken the day of the raid, show some of the 73 horses covered in feces. Another has its hoofs facing nearly 90 degrees outward, which the S.P.C.A. says can be very painful. Other images show horses whose ribcages and other bones are prominently showing through their skin.

"It's shocking," said Larry Robb, President of the Erie County SPCA.

The horses are being cared for by the S.P.C.A. Officials say they are doing well.

The S.P.C.A. is now in court, trying to get the owner of the horses to pay for the care of the animals and prevent her from getting the horses back.

Hoskins declined our request for an interview, but during her May court appearance on animal abuse charges, told 2 On Your Side that her horses are well care for.

"Besides God and my daughter those horses are my life and I never in my wildest imagination thought this would be happening to me," Hoskins said.

REPORTER: The owner has said the SPCA -- you guys -- have blown this completely out of proportion. What do you say?

ROBB: I say look at the photographs. You're going to see the incredible, deplorable conditions that these animals were in and how they were suffering. They speak for themselves.

But local Olympian and prominent equestrian Darren Chiacchia, a friend of Hoskins, told 2 On Your Side that the public should not confuse horses, which are livestock, with pets. He also asked that people not judge Hoskins' quality of care for the horses based solely on the photographs, because horses tend to be at the dirtiest in March from the freeze and thaw.

"Beth is extremely accomplished within the horse world," Chiacchia said. "That doesn't happen if you mistreat animals."

The S.P.C.A. said eight of the rescued horses are at its Tonawanda facility. the other 65 are in foster care. So far, the organization says it has spent $200,000 on their care, and is suing Hoskins for the money.

A judge could decided to release 40 of the horses into her care during the July 12th civil court hearing. The S.P.C.A. said it will fight to prevent that from happening unless the horses are under daily supervision.

Click on the video link on the right hand side of this page to watch Aaron Saykin's Midday report and view some of the photos released by the SPCA.

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