Surviving horses treated well as abuse case proceeds

Next hearing is Feb. 16: Officers find surviving horses in clean barn with hay and water


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  • Judge Robert H. Freehill in Orange County Court listens to Jeanne Ryan’s attorney, Michael Sussman (left), and Chief Assistant District Attorney Christopher Borek. Jeanne Ryan is standing in back of them, with Justice for the Horses of Argus Farm advocates seated behind her (Photo by Frances Ruth Harris)




  • Jeanne Ryan (Photo by Frances Ruth Harris)



By Frances Ruth Harris

— Tests and medical reports in the Goshen animal cruelty case are still arriving at the Orange County District Attorney's office.

Last summer 11 horses were found dead, apparently from neglect and starvation, on Argus Farm in Goshen. Farm owner Jeanne Ryan was charged with ten felony counts of aggravated cruelty to animals in connection with the deaths and the mistreatment of a surviving horse.

In a pretrial conference held Jan. 16 in Orange County Court, Ryan watched as her attorney, Michael Sussman, discussed the case with Assistant District Attorney Chris Borek. Sussman had just received Borek's response to his earlier omnibus motion. Freehill gave Sussman until Monday to respond.

Judge Freehill will inspect the grand jury's statements for legal soundness because sources close to the case still see a trial on the horizon. But Borek said he doesn't expect a pretrial hearing will be needed, since Ryan made no statements to the police that would serve as evidence.

Scientific tests are still coming in, as well as veterinarians' reports and additional reports from other doctors. Borek's office will forward these documents to Sussman as come in.

Survivors are in good shapeThe surviving horses remaining at Argus Farm are being treated well, Gene Hecht, chief of Hudson Valley SPCA Humane Law Enforcement, told The Chronicle. They live in a clean barn and are allowed out during the day.

Representatives from his agency and the Town of Goshen Police Department inspected Ryan's farm, at 132 Gate Schoolhouse Road, on Saturday, Jan. 6, in response to a complaint from one of Ryan's neighbors who said the animals did not have water. But the authorities found five healthy horses with sufficient water and hay.

Hecht said he found not one bit of manure in barn, which was totally clean. Hay and water were visible and available to the horses, he said.

Originally Ryan had four surviving horses then added one more.

Hecht said the Town of Goshen Police Department has told Ryan, who asked about preventing trespassers from venturing onto her property, to take pictures of any trespassers she sees and bring the pictures to the station.

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