If the SPCA Serving Erie County gets its wish, all of Beth Lynne Hoskins’ 64 horses will be put in the care of a receiver and sold.
The agency, which has spent $1.3 million in legal fees and animal care since conducting a raid of her Aurora farm five years ago, is fed up with the latest action by the horsewoman who was convicted two years ago of 52 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.
SPCA attorney Ralph Lorigo spent Sunday drafting a proposed order for a judge to consider. If agreed to, the order would place all of Hoskins’ horses under the control of a receiver to care for and manage until they could all be sold – a move that essentially mirrors State Supreme Court Justice Joseph R. Glownia’s own order issued Dec. 15 and was to have been executed if Hoskins had not sold 29 of her horses – about half of them, by Dec. 21.
Glownia will go into court Tuesday morning even though the courts are closed for the holidays, to address the Hoskins horse case with the SPCA, Hoskins and her attorney, George V.C. Muscato. She did not go through with the $50,000 court-approved sale last week of 29 of her horses to a Rochester farm.
“Hopefully, he will appoint a receiver,” Lorigo said Monday. “I’m hopeful he’ll sign this order that follows up with his order of Dec. 15 because she’s in contempt of court and acknowledges she doesn’t have funds to take care of any of the horses.”
The SPCA is not shocked that Hoskins – who previously has been found in contempt of court and also has served jail time in the criminal case – didn’t do what she was supposed to and finally sell the 29 horses to a friend, Jennifer Hartwell, owner of Skyloft Morgan Farm in Scottsville. That sale had reportedly been in the works since August but was stalled for unknown reasons until Glownia brokered a final agreement in his chambers Dec. 22 with attorneys from both sides.
The SPCA claims that Hoskins remains in contempt of court on Glownia’s May 13, 2014, stipulated settlement requiring her not to own more than 35 horses.
“I said to the judge, ‘This is all more deception on the court,’ ” Lorigo said, referring to a Monday conference call between him, Glownia and Muscato, Hoskins’s latest attorney in the civil case who served as one of her first ones, too. “I told him I had a receiver order prepared that paralleled his Dec. 15 order about a receiver,” Lorigo said.
Lorigo’s proposed order was hand-delivered to Glownia’s home in Elma on Monday morning, and a copy also was emailed to Muscato. Hoskins and Muscato did not return repeated phone messages for comment from The Buffalo News on Sunday or Monday.
The SPCA attorney said Glownia wanted to know what happened over the weekend. During the conference call, Muscato said he didn’t have a lot of information other than knowing that all of her horses were at Emery Road in Aurora, Lorigo said. And as of Monday morning, Muscato said he had not spoken with Hoskins, Lorigo said.
The unraveling of the horse sale was communicated in an email on Christmas Day to Muscato’s office and the court, saying the prospective buyer could not find a place to put the horses, Lorigo said.
It is not clear whether a $5,000 downpayment was actually made, as was to have been done last week.
SPCA Executive Director Barbara Carr remains annoyed by Hoskins’ actions. “Hartwell told an animal law enforcement officer in Rochester that she wasn’t buying any of the horses, but told the State Supreme Court judge she was,” Carr said Monday.
The chain of events over last weekend, which saw her direct that her 29 horses be trailered from a Lockport farm to her Emery Road horse farm in Aurora instead of to the Rochester farm to which they were supposed to have been sold, resonated with her refusal to back down in the case. In August 2014, she performed her own rendition of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” at the closed North Park Theater and posted the video on YouTube.
Lorigo and Carr have additional concern about the welfare of Hoskins’ horses since they said no court-ordered inspections – to their knowledge – have been followed since August for any of the horses, the 35 in Aurora and the 29 that Hoskins had moved to a Lockport farm in August for what was supposed to be a temporary, two-week stay.
“We don’t know who is looking after the horses,” Carr said. “A court-ordered inspector for the 35 horses is not getting paid, so inspections stopped” in late summer, she said. “Nobody, as far as I know, knows what is going on with the horses on Emery Road.”
Lorigo said Hoskins owes the court-ordered inspector $2,400 and because of the lack of payment, he stopped performing inspections in early August.