The animal cruelty trial of Beth Lynne Hoskins officially resumed Tuesday after nearly a 100-day lapse since late November due to various adjournments and delays.
The SPCA’s second in command testified about the day of the raid at Hoskins’ Morgan horse farm in the Town of Aurora nearly three years ago.
In a surprise, the issue of Hoskins being ill and the possibility of her doctors testifying Tuesday about her health never materialized. Two weeks ago her defense attorney had raised concerns about her health, indicating she would be undergoing medical tests. The defense had asked for an adjournment until next Monday, but that was not granted.
The defense did not have any medical doctors or experts to put on the stand Tuesday, and the trial moved forward, as Aurora Town Justice Douglas Marky had said it would if no medical witnesses were brought to court.
Hoskins is in the midst of a nonjury trial on 74 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty stemming from the March 18, 2010, raid.
Asked afterward what had happened since the issue of Hoskins’ health seemed so urgent two weeks ago, her attorney, Thomas J. Eoannou, said: “We want to bring this to a verdict. The priority at this point is to move this trial along.”
Tuesday’s session included an unexpected appearance by a new attorney, Gregory L. Davis, who showed up on Hoskins’ behalf and entered the judge’s chambers for a conference but later said he has no role in the criminal case.
Davis ended up staying through the one-hour testimony of Beth Shapiro, deputy director of the SPCA Serving Erie County, which conducted the raid and seizure of 73 horses, as well as cats and dogs, from Hoskins’ farm.
She testified about coordinating with other SPCA staff, including director Barbara Carr, on five plans tied to the execution of the search warrant and subsequent inspection of Hoskins’ farm. One plan involved seizing the animals, if warranted.
Under cross-examination, she acknowledged that plans had been put in place to have the Niagara County Fairgrounds ready on standby, in case animals needed to be taken there.
Testimony is scheduled to resume at 2:15 p.m. Monday, with Dr. Charlotte Tutu, a veterinarian from Canada, taking the stand for the prosecution. She was at the farm the day of the raid.