It’s been a year since Beth Lynne Hoskins – the wealthy Aurora horse farm owner – was convicted of animal abuse and sentenced in criminal court to probation, and later ordered in civil court to sell nearly half of her Morgan horses.
She’s in trouble with the law again – in both town and civil courts.
State Supreme Court Justice Joseph R. Glownia found her in contempt of court for failing to sell 33 of her horses by Thursday as he had ordered her to do back in May in the civil case.
Hoskins also faces more problems in Aurora Town Court, where she was sentenced a year ago to probation.
She is accused of violating some of her probation conditions, including not showing up for all probation meetings, failing to notify probation about an address change, not providing updates on her farm and failing to obey all orders from town and civil courts.
Last Halloween, Town Justice Douglas W. Marky sentenced Hoskins to three years of probation, including 500 hours of community service and a $52,410 fine on misdemeanor animal cruelty charges.
Many animal rights supporters had criticized the sentence in the animal abuse case as too lenient. Critics said it would further enable Hoskins, whom many have characterized as an animal hoarder assisted by her wealthy family, to continue past behaviors without repercussions.
The animal abuse case against Hoskins dates to March 2010, when the SPCA Serving Erie County raided her farm.
Glownia’s contempt of court ruling stems from a settlement reached with the SPCA last May. That settlement order stipulated that Hoskins would be allowed to keep 35 of her seized horses, but had until Thursday to sell the other 33. The first 16 of the 33 were to have been sold or transferred by Aug. 30.
But she has kept all the horses. She also apparently has failed to keep up with back payments of $25,000 per month – now totaling well over $100,000 over the last several months – that she was to have paid the SPCA to cover the costs of long-term care for many of her horses, sources with knowledge of the case said.
As of last summer, the SPCA said it had spent $1.3 million on all aspects of the Hoskins case, including legal expenses and horse care over the last four years.
“I do not believe that this court has any alternative but to find that there has been a violation of the order, and that this is a contemptuous violation of the order,” Glownia said in his latest ruling.
Court officials said Glownia sealed other aspects of his ruling, but sources indicated Glownia has given Hoskins until late November to sell the required number of horses. She also must make full back payments to the SPCA within a few weeks.
SPCA Executive Director Barbara Carr last spring praised Glownia for presiding over a settlement that sought to protect the horses into the future. The SPCA noted at the time that Glownia felt strongly that Hoskins must have custody of her horses in order to sell them, which is why he crafted such a tight agreement.
“Nobody can say this is coming as a surprise, given the manner in which this case played out over three years,” Sedita said. “Having been convicted of 52 counts of animal cruelty, then she went and produced and starred in her own video vindicating herself.”
Sedita was referring to a video that was posted on YouTube of Hoskins singing her own rendition of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” in the North Park Theatre. The theater is co-owned by Thomas J. Eoannou, her defense attorney.
Hoskins said Thursday she did not want to discuss the recent developments.
“We’ve got some family issues that we’re trying to keep private,” she said.
She and Eoannou noted that an appeal of Marky’s sentence is in Erie County Court. If the appeal is successful, some of the elements of Glownia’s order “would go away,” she said.
One of her civil attorneys, Gregory L. Davis, declined comment; the other, Thomas Casey, did not return messages.