Eden Farm Update

It’s been awhile since I had heard much about one of the darker chapters in recent Morgan history. Most of you will remember back in 2010 Beth Lynn Hoskins’ Eden Farm in East Aurora, NY was raided by the SPCA and numerous horses and cats (some dogs too I think) were seized. The fall-out over the next few months resulted in Hoskins having 40 (of the 73) horses returned to her while she was simultaneously charged with over 100 counts of animal cruelty (which was later reduced to 74). I don’t know what the judge was thinking, returning animals to someone being charged with animal cruelty. That hardly seems like a good idea. A representative at the SPCA was unable to give me specifics on which horses ended up back on the farm. I’m told though that she was able to select which 40 she wanted back.

Honestly, the more I research to get my facts straight, the more I’m just confused by the legal process (Chris Nerland, I know you have a legal background. Maybe you can make more sense of it). There are a number of figures out there; $850,000+ in SPCA expenses as of March 2012, Hoskins has paid $200,000+ into a bond fund toward the care of these animals, she is also required to pay $13,000+ in monthly board for the 32 horses still in SPCA care, she owes $118,000 to the SPCA for the care of the horses over the last 19 months. I’m not sure how all these numbers are calculated, $850,000-$200,000 is clearly nowhere near $118,000, and $13,000*19 is approxomately $250,000 (although I’m sure there were substantial charges associated with the initial care of the horses, transportation and legal costs to reach $850,000). The bottom line is, the SPCA has incurred a substantial cost here and from what I understand Hoskins has not been forthcoming with financial assistance. (For more information buffalonews.com has been following this case pretty closely and has nearly 90 articles from the last 2 years if you search “Hoskins SPCA”)

Yet, I still see ads in TMH for Eden Farm! Now, I’m not saying TMH should turn down ad revenue. But clearly she has money at her disposal. Supposedly she has even purchased a few horses recently, although according to AMHA registry no Morgans have been transferred to her ownership over the last 2 years. Who would still sell this woman a horse? Hopefully no one who is aware of her history over the past few years.

I hate drudging her personal life out into the open. But, to be fair, from what I understand she was either in the midst of, or had recently gone through a divorce when this whole thing started. Not that that makes everything ok. But anyone who’s gone through a traumatic life event (divorce, death, etc) will know that there’s an emotional and mental fog that can come over you. Since the farm and horses were in apparently good condition when TMC did their farm profile back in 2004, I would not be surprised if turbulence in her personal life had a factor in this. If that’s the case, then perhaps she is on track to bring the farm back into working order. According to the most recent reports the condition of the horses is excellent and regular maintenance is being performed on the farm.

Anyway, one of the reasons I’m bringing this whole thing up is that according to the SPCA there has been no assistance either from AMHA or Morgan Horse owners. Now, technically I’m not sure if there’s actually much AMHA can do to help. But I’m a bit surprised Morgan horse owners, past owners of these horses and breeders have not stepped up. Perhaps they have made donations through the SPCA website that would not necessarily be recognized as having come from the Morgan family. I know it’s not from lack of caring; Forever Morgans and AC4H seem to often get good responses when it comes to helping Morgans in need. Unfortnately there’s no way to earmark donations to go to a particular cause. So, I suppose this is an informal campaign/call to action for Above Level readers. Will you support the SPCA in the care of these horses?  How great would it be if the Morgan family would band together to help the SPCA with the care of these horses?

7 Responses to Eden Farm Update

  1. Interesting that you should raise this issue. I was wondering last month about the status when I saw the ad. After checking, it appears the misdemeanor criminal trial being held is still ongoing with multiple witnesses and stacks of evidence. It has been dragging on since May, as near as I can tell.
    I think TMH had little choice but to accept advertising from someone who has not yet been convicted of a crime involving her horses. As far as sorting out the various dollar figures, there is a lot of confusion, but apparently she has been paying the SPCA about 16k a month, and they have been incurring about $22k a month. The disagreement has been how much should be paid for expenses incurred after the seizure in 2010, until about December 2010, when an agreement was reached resulting in the 16k/month payment. Also, SPCA contends there are ongoing unreimbursed expenses. A recent Apellate court ruling appears to have awarded additional monies to the SPCA, but Hoskins lawyer disputes that interpretation. And it goes on and on…
    It is a unique case because SPCA has actually been able to collect some money for support of the horses they have. Usually, the former owner has no money. In Hoskins case, clearly that was not correct. It just seems that it wasn’t being spent on the care for the horses she had in her barn. In fairness, the 40 horses that were returned appear to have adequate care now.

  2. colwilrin says:

    The SPCA still makes routine visits to the farm to make sure those 40 horses are kept in acceptable condition. Financial help to Beth? Seriously? Google “Hoskins and Curtis Screw” For fun, add “donations. You just might find this.

    http://newsandevents.buffalostate.edu/news/commencement-profile-john-t-and-susan-hoskins

    Beth’s parents.

  3. RaeOfLight says:

    Thanks for the clarification Chris. I thought from what I read that she had been paying something. I just wasn’t clear how much. And I got the impression from SPCA that she hadn’t been paying at all.

    Colwilrin, I wasn’t talking about financial help to Beth. She obviously can afford to pay. I was talking about helping out the SPCA. I wasn’t sure what, if anything, they had received for the care of the horses still with them.

  4. chisholm says:

    I know someone that bred a horse that ended up at Eden Farm(ie the breeder did not sell the horse directly to Hoskins).

    The breeder of course really cared about her horse. She had (I have not discussed it with her lately) been in communication with the SPCA about the condition of her horse AND she had sent them $$$ to help with expenses.

    Therefore the statement that AMHA members have not helped them sounds incorrect.

    I am surprised the laws in NY allowed them to just go in and grab all of these horses??? From the published accounts (of course the media can mis-state things)they just went in and seized all these horses without even giving her a warning first???

    Sounds like whatever SPCA official was behind this seizure didn’t have a clue as to what it would take to care for 70+ horses.

    Kind of difficult to decide who to believe in this case. For the horses case I hope it works out so they have a safe and happy home.

    I think AMHA did the right thing publishing the ads… innocent until proven guilty.

  5. Towne-Ayr says:

    Since this topic has come up… does anyone know what happened to the stallion she owned, Stony Hollow Ice Man. Been trying to find out what happened to him as we have a daughter of his. Thanks!

  6. RaeOfLight says:

    SPCA would not release the names of the horses that they still have in their care or which horses are on her farm. I do know that one of the horses in SPCA care died recently. I only mention that because I was able to find the name of that horse. I forget what it was now, but it was a “Whispering” prefixed horse. No cause of death anywhere I could find.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some horses on the farm that didn’t belong to her (leased or boarded horses) when this whole thing started. I hope those horses were able to go home to their actual owners and not wrapped up in red tape.

  7. iluvnypets says:

    It is heartbreaking to know these horses were returned to her….she has many other animals as well that don’t ever get mentioned. I live not to far from this place and she is well known for “not being well”….it was no surprise to anyone when this raid happened, it was more of a , “finally”. I know mrs. Haskins believes hiding these animals as well as her daughter keeps her secrets from getting out but they don’t. The reason this is still going on is because her mother is a millionaire and pays her legal fees. I pretty sure mrs. Haskins doesn’t work and why would she. I am so proud of the spca for not backing down and giving up….they survive strictly on donations and Haskins doesn’t care that she could be draining them and preventing care to other animals in need….it is obvious she only cares for herself and is truly a selfish brat who never grew up…

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