District attorney is honored by state humane association

David Hoovler won justice for horses that starved to death locked in Goshen barn


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  • From left: Dr. Harry Hovel, board chair, NYS Humane Association; Christopher Borek, Orange County Chief Assistant District Attorney; David Hoovler, Orange County District Attorney (holding his award); Patricia Valusek, president, NYS Humane Association; and Marc Kissel, attorney and board member, NYS Humane Association (Photo by Frances Ruth Harris)



"Chris and Anika did a stellar job. I made sure they had the resources."
District Attorney David Hoovler


By Frances Ruth Harris

— Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler received the New York State Humane Association's Award of Excellence for his work prosecuting a farm owner convicted of starving her horses to death.

In July, Jeanne Ryan was found guilty in a bench trial for causing the deaths of nine horses and the near-starvation of a tenth horse, who was discovered standing in a foot of manure amid rotting carcasses in a locked barn. Ryan was sent to Orange County Jail. In September, she was sentenced to two years behind bars.

"There was nothing about this horse case that didn't reek of crime," said Hoovler, who accepted his award on Nov. 28.

Chief Assistant District Attorney Christopher Borek and Assistant District Attorney Anika Mohammed prosecuted the case.

"Chris and Anika did a stellar job," said Hoovler. "I made sure they had the resources."

Presenting the award from the humane association were Patricia Valusek, president; Dr. Harry Hovel, board chair; and attorney Marc Kissel, board member.

Dr. Hovel chaired the board for the past two years while serving on the board for 25 years. A retired IBM research scientist, he wrote "The Connection Between Animal Abuse and Human Violence." He gave a copy of the 40-page pamphlet to all who attended the presentation. The pamphlet is also available online at https://bit.ly/2BPHJ2q.

At the bench trial, Judge Robert Freehill called the abuse by Ryan "heinous." Ryan is on the Orange County animal abuse registry and is forbidden for owning animals for 15 years.

Hoovler said justice was served to the fullest extent of the law. But he said punishments should be greater for those who abuse animals.

"They do need stricter consecutive penalties, not merely concurrent penalties," he said.

Related storiesSee these related stories at chroniclenewspaper.com:

"Jeanne Ryan found guilty on all counts in horse abuse case"

"Judge delivers maximum sentence, and fierce denunciation, in horse deaths case"

"Starved horses' hay supply cut after many payment lapses, farmer says"

"Disturbing images of horse abuse shown as Ryan's trial continues"

"Farm owner charged with 10 felony counts of cruelty to animals"





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