GOSHEN – Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that on Thursday September 6, 2018, Jeanne Ryan, 52, of Goshen, was sentenced to multiple concurrent sentences of two years in the Orange County Jail in connection with the death of nine horses, and the mistreatment of a tenth horse, which survived.
On July 24, 2018, Ryan, a former New York City Police Officer who retired on a disability pension, was found guilty after a bench trial before Orange County Court Judge Robert H. Freehill of ten felony counts of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals. Ryan was also convicted of ten misdemeanor counts of overdriving, torturing, and injuring animals, for underfeeding the same animals. Ryan has been remanded to the Orange County Jail since her conviction.
The maximum sentence which the law allows for the felony of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals is two years in jail. The maximum sentence which the law allows for Overdriving, Torturing, and Injuring Animals is one year in jail. Under New York State law a defendant can serve no more than two years in jail. On September 6, 2018, prosecutors recommended that Ryan be sentenced to the maximum sentence for nine of the ten felony counts of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals, and for all ten counts of Overdriving, Torturing, and Injuring Animals. The District Attorney recommended that Ryan be sentenced to a conditional discharge on one of the felony counts to help assure that she may not own animals during the pendency of any appeals on the case. Orange County Court Judge Robert H. Freehill sentenced Ryan to the maximum of two years in the Orange County Jail on each of the first nine counts of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals, and one year in the Orange County Jail on each of the ten counts of Overdriving, Torturing, and Injuring Animals. By operation of law those sentences must run concurrently.
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.
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.
“In my opinion the current law does not provide for adequate punishment for instances of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals as were proven in this case,” said District Attorney Hoovler.
Judge Freehill also issued an order with a conditional discharge on one of the felony counts which prohibits Ryan from owning, of being in possession of any animals for fifteen years. The District Attorney recommended that one of the equine rescue societies that took possession of the surviving horse receive restitution for expenses incurred for their care of the starving horse. A restitution hearing is scheduled for October 2, 2018. Ryan was also informed that her conviction requires her to register with the Orange County Animal Abuse Registry, which will prevent her from owning animals in Orange County.
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.