Five years ago, HSHV director Tanya Hilgendorf told the Observer the group didn't like the way Hoey cared for his animals but her investigators found "nothing prosecutable." What changed this spring? "We hold solid evidence strong enough to pursue cruelty charges," Schaecher says. While he says he "can't get into the details of what we found," he would say that "some animals were underweight," while others have "overgrown hoofs."
"One horse had the heaves, that's 'cause of old age, and one had a small nick on one leg that was healing up. The goats we purchased two months ago and were fattening them up," Hoey responds. "And those four donkeys a guy gave me a year ago, and you should have seen their hooves then. We've been trimming them back ever since. You've got to do it slow, or it hurts them. If they were farmers, they'd know that."
Schaecher says the animals are currently being "boarded at an off-site, undisclosed location," and that what happens next "the courts will decide. If he's found guilty, we ask that they be turned over to the humane society. If he's found not guilty, he could be awarded back the animals, but I don't foresee that happening. The court process could take months, but he's still got a yard full of animals, I don't think it will put him back."