Goshen Woman Found Guilty After Trial of Ten Felony Counts of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals and Ten Counts of Overdriving, Torturing and Injuring Animals, in Connection with the Death of Nine Horses and the Mistreatment of Another Horse
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that on Tuesday, July 24, 2018, Jeanne Ryan, 52, of Goshen, was found guilty after a bench trial before Orange County Court Judge Robert H. Freehill of ten felony counts of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals in connection with the death of nine horses, and the mistreatment of a tenth horse, which survived. Ryan was also convicted of ten misdemeanor counts of Overdriving, Torturing, and Injuring Animals, for underfeeding the same animals. Ryan was remanded to the Orange County Jail pending her sentencing, which is scheduled for September 6, 2018.
On July 29, 2017, investigators from the Hudson Valley Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (“HVSPCA”), with the assistance of the Town of Goshen Police Department, executed a search warrant at the barn located at Ryan’s residence in the Town of Goshen. Inside the barn they discovered the severely decomposed remains of five horses, as well as a severely emaciated, though live, horse. Ryan was issued an appearance ticket made returnable in the Town of Goshen Court on September 13, 2017, for one misdemeanor animal cruelty charge.
A second search warrant was executed at Ryan’s farm by the Town of Goshen Police Department, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance’s Criminal Investigations Division, and the HVSPCA. Among the items recovered were Ryan’s cellular telephone, which was searched by the New York State Police Computer Crimes Unit. The results of that search were analyzed by the Hudson Valley Crime Analysis Center and messages between Ryan and her son pertaining to the care of the horses were introduced into evidence at the trial.
When Ryan appeared in Town Court, the District Attorney’s Office announced that it would be presenting the case to a grand jury to consider additional charges. Following a grand jury investigation, the grand jury issued a twenty-count indictment, alleging that between March 1, 2016, and July 29, 2017, Ryan subjected ten horses to “aggravated cruelty.” “Aggravated cruelty” is defined under the law as conduct that either caused the horses extreme physical pain or was carried out in an especially depraved or sadistic manner.
District Attorney Hoovler highly commended Chief Assistant District Attorney Christopher Borek and Assistant District Attorney Anika Mohammed, who prosecuted the case.
District Attorney Hoovler thanked the Hudson Valley SPCA, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, the New York State Police Computer Crimes Unit, the Hudson Valley Crime Analysis Center, and the Town of Goshen Police Department for their work on the case and their investigation.
District Attorney Hoovler also thanked the volunteer equine rescue organizations who aided in the initial search warrant execution and who cared for the emaciated horse that was rescued.
“The evidence in this case clearly supported the judge’s verdict that this defendant is guilty of felony Aggravated Cruelty to Animals for systematically starving ten horses, nine of which died,” said District Attorney Hoovler. “But for the intervention of the Town of Goshen Police Department and the HVSPCA, a tenth horse would also have certainly starved to death. As a society we cannot tolerate the mistreatment of horses or other companion animals, which cannot protect themselves. Animal abuse cases are a high priority in my office and we will continue to work with the SPCA and our other law enforcement partners to protect animals from neglect and abuse. The assistance of the volunteer equine rescue societies who aided the HVSPCA, and who cared for the surviving horse, were crucial, not only for caring for the surviving animal, but also for aiding in the prosecution of the case. We will be recommending that this defendant be sentenced to the maximum term of incarceration that the law allows.”
A criminal charge is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the State of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.