Ryan Gets Max Sentence
By Edie Johnson
The pony “Shamus”, rescued last Spring from Argus Farm in Goshen as the last animal alive in a barn stacked with manure and bones, looks healthy and fit as can be these days, after a year of extra care, much of it by equestrian Laura Brinkworth.
But the pony’s prior owner Jeanne Ryan is not faring as well. Today her convictions for animal cruelty (10 felonies and 10 misdemeanors) landed her a sentence of 2 years in prison. Judge Robert Freehill said he “wished it could be more”. Additionally, according to Orange County’s “Rocky’s Law” stipulations, she will be prevented from owning any animal for 15 years.
The equestrian region rejoiced today at the sentence being maximum penalty. They have been pressing for just such a sentence through numerous letters sent to the Orange County legal system (which they widely praised) and activity at their social media site “Justice for the Horses of Argus Farm”. The troubling saga began last year with the Hudson Valley Humane Society discovering the decaying and decayed remains of an unknown number horses in their stalls and dumped in fields on her property, with many of the horses believed to have starved to death and otherwise neglected in their stalls. The decaying bones of a young foal by its mother in a locked stall was seen as particularly horrific. Judge Freehill remarked that it had been the worst case of animal abuse he had ever seen. Reports of removal of some remaining horses from the property last month that were supposed to have been seized by the humane society has left many wondering where they landed and whether authorities were properly advised.
Clearly Shamus is one lucky pony, landing in the care of Laurie Brinkworth, after a long road of working his way back to fitness and health. A further court decision next month will determine possible reimbursement for the thousands of dollars spent to restore Shamus from conditions that had a good chance of becoming as fatal as the many others at the farm, except for his rescue.
Caption: Elizabeth Harkin, Wynsum Equestrian Center of Damascus, PA who is the trainer that has been working with him.