Horse News

Hunter Involved in Horse Shooting Works For a NY Sheriffs Office

Source: story by Brett Davidsen as published on WHEC News 10

“How do you mistake a horse for a coyote?”

Hunter_involved_in_horse_shooting_works_for_Ontario_County_Sheriff39s_Office-syndImport-053802For weeks, many of you have been asking us to look into the case of two horses shot by hunters in Livingston County.

It happened last month and since then we’ve put in several calls to police and the state Department of Environmental Conservation trying to track down answers. Finally, Wednesday we received a release about the incident and Thursday we learned one of the men involved works for the Ontario County Sheriff’s Department.

Ontario County Sheriff Phil Povero says it was not his investigation, so he was not at liberty to release information. Why the DEC waited more than three weeks to tell us what happened isn’t clear and the horse owners tell News10NBC even they were left in the dark.

Owner Tom Maggio says, “We’ve had horses all our lives. They’re just like your kids and that’s how you feel. You’ve lost one of your family. That’s how my wife feels.”

Maggio is still trying to make sense of what happened on the land in Nunda where his wife and stepdaughter both raise horses.

Last month two licensed hunters taking part in a coyote hunt shot two of their horses in two separate locations on the property. One horse died. The other horse, Comanche, was wounded. The bullet is still lodged in his left shoulder. It initially had us asking how an incident like this could happen.

“Let me ask you the same question? How do you mistake a horse for a coyote?” asks Maggio.

After the incident occurred, News10NBC began asking questions of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the investigating agency. The DEC offered little information. Yesterday, it announced it had taken action against the two hunters identified as Christian Smith, of Phelps, and Glenn Gosson, of Fairport.

The DEC revoked their hunting licenses for three years, fined them $200 dollars and had them pay restitution for the value of the dead horse, its burial fee and veterinarian bills for Comanche. What the DEC didn’t mention is that Smith is also a law enforcement officer. Thursday, in a prepared statement, Sheriff Povero confirmed Smith is a lieutenant working in the corrections division. Povero would not take questions, saying it’s a personnel matter.

“The Ontario County Office of Sheriff is now conducting a separate internal investigation relative to the off-duty conduct of this employee,” says Povero.

Smith remains on active duty. Maggio wonders if the DEC dragged its feet on the investigation and let the men off easy because Smith is in law enforcement.

“I just don’t feel that,” says Maggio. “You know, it was swept under the carpet — too much doesn’t add up.”

We went to the DEC’s regional headquarters in Avon to get more answers. We were told no one was available to speak with us, but someone would call, no one did.

“Something needs to be changed,” says Maggio. “It really, really does. Because this time it’s a horse, next time it might be one of us.”

Maggio says he was never even told the names of the hunters until he heard them on the news Wednesday. He says he believes the men feel bad about what happened, but also says he believes they have given other hunters a bad name.

Categories: Horse News

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34 replies »

  1. A few of questions arise here…
    #1…A horse and a coyote have one thing going for them…they’re both mammals and that’s about it!
    #2…Did they think they were deer?? and if they did…are deer even in season there at this time of the year?

    #3. And God I hope not…were the horses shot just to see something die?? If they did then WHAT is the deputy doing on the police force and WHO and WHAT is next??


  2. Doesnt matter what they thought , willing to bet there was no thought process going on they were being imbeciles wanting shoot something anything didnt matter to them what it was , is this what kind of idiots the Sheriffs dept is hiring ?????? These 2 should be immediately fired and barred from holding any public service job………………………..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. No matter what happened, I would like to know why a police officer who is ranked as a lieutenant lied and covered it up. And unless they shot the horses simultaneously they knew what they had done and did it again…as the horses were shot in two different locations. If a cop who is ranked a lieutenant can’t tell the difference between a coyote and a horse…everyone should be really careful around him..he probably has a gun on him all the time…the thing law enforcement is getting better at is not solving crimes, but protecting their own..this is happening everywhere..I hope they keep investigating and my sympathies to the owners for their loss, and hope that Comanche makes a full recovery


  4. It was #3. Why is it okay to shoot coyotes in a contest? Why is any of it allowed? If you allow killing contests, why do you think you can draw a line? Why is it outrageous to shoot a horse dead but okay to ship hundreds of thousands through hell in a kill box?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When I read this a couple days ago brought to mind the elk that was shot and killed here in CO and was also covered up. Officers are trained over and over again to know the difference between a good guy and a bad guy, so to even think it was a mistake is way off the mark, that someone that highly trained cannot know the difference between a horse sized horse and a dog sized coyote. “This was on purpose.” I fear our officers are being numbed down and some are feeling they are above the law. In the article I posted yesterday, in the UK persons who work in slaughter houses and butchers cannot be on jury’s because they feel they have been numbed to murder and death.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m my opinion, all Hunters are bad names. That’s why I had my property declared off limits to Hunters. Too many bad things can happen and there is always some lame excuse for it if anything. And no, they don’t feel bad about what they did. They only feel bad about getting caught. These horses here are my reason for living and I’m not taking any chances or excuses. It’s funny that the coyotes don’t come stalking my horses but I have reason to believe that one got hit by a ricochet. It cost me a vet bill but it cist them a lot more and the horse was fine after attention and care of his wounds. Damn these gun toting idiots who shoot at anything moving. That’s my opinion and I won’t budge from it..


  7. It’s not even remotely believable a very spotted APPALOOSA could be mistaken by anyone with eyesight for a coyote! The fact that two were shot at two different locations bespeaks an intentional horsekilling spree, maybe since it was too much work to actually look for coyotes.


  8. Okay, those horses were domesticated, so they must have been fenced in. My guess is that they crossed the fence in order to shoot them. Wouldn’t that make it a trespassing offense as well or are the laws in Canada different? Or let’s say that they did not cross it. How on Earth did they not see the fence? Something seems fishy.


  9. 1. Cops are Rigorously tested for fitness. So he Cannot claim Vision issues because that would make him unfit as an officer at any rank. 2. Cops are trained to NOT shoot until they are upon their target and KNOW whom they are firing upon otherwise they woukd be randomly killing people not involved in crime. 3. Hunters are trained to Certain of their targets and are NOT allowed to aim or shoot upon anything not preapproved as game to prevent accidental death or injuries. 4. Gun classes are given for police and hunters to supposedly improve awareness and safety. 5. Cops are held to an even higher obligation than hunters to make sure of safety and especially with firearms definitely on and off duty. 6 The make it go away shuffle stinks of good ole boy coverup. 7. Horses especially Apps are highly visible from a distance and head and tail carriage as well as coloration obviously not canine.8. This was Not a case of fear nor life and death. 8. They should be suspended and forced to take fitness testing without pay. 9. The NY law enforcement should consider this . To be a sign of a larger issue. Consider mental . Health or emotional or rage conditions which could affect his job and . Safety of people hes sworn to protect. 10. Petition this man out of this position.


  10. The article says that these men ‘probably feel bad’. You know what? Too damn bad. How stupid can you get? If they are this out of control and do not have a clue what they are firing their weapons at then they should not be in the employ of the Sheriff’s office or any other law enforcement agency. At least they had to pay restitution, however that doesnt come close to alleviating the grief when a member of your family is murdered. The fact that the Sheriff’s office is involved in a major COVER UP makes me sick. If I were this family I would sue their asses.


  11. According to UN CBD, Article 8 (h) parties to the conference are to prevent, control, and eradicate alien species in states or parts of states where found to the extent practicable.


  12. i can respect responsible hunters, but when it comes to law enforcement, it becomes very disappointing. I know there is a lot for them to be responsible for, but when they get too head strong, controlling and think they are untouchable. That is a problem. There were hunters in Utah who shot cow. a few cows. He needs to be charged and convicted.


  13. I wonder if these two were taking part in a coyote killing contest that might have been going on. Several of these contests have been stopped in other states. I doubt the police chief would look to good if one of his men was caught doing something like that. The other contests included wolves and coyotes that was going to be blown away until they were stopped on public land.


  14. Yeah, this happened too far from me(I am down in Cattaraugus County). As usual, no one knows anything, which is par for the course around here. The Sheriff’s departments on this side of this side of the state are something to be desired. Even the cops here all have ego complexes too. So I am not surprised at all of this. I hope by bringing some national exposure, justice will be brought, but I am sure it will remain ‘under the rug’. Idk if this will bring justice for the horse or make changes but maybe something will be done or change. But thank you for bring this to national exposure instead of it remaining in small town WNY.


  15. Totally inexcusable, even if the “target” was a coyote (completely indefensible thrill killing). I’ve already emailed my thoughts to Sheriff Potrero. His lieutenant sounds like an ignorant bully and is a deplorable role model for the community. With all of the bad press and scrutiny that law enforcement personnel are getting throughout this country, there is no room for crap like this. Fire his ass, and do it now!


  16. They need pictures and maybe they will understand the difference, you know this is a horse and this is a coyote………..


    • Good one…I love it!!!
      Would it be in bad taste, if someone sent pictures of a horse and a coyote stating that other pictures for their reference were available upon request? Just in case.


      • Dear Barbara , Good Question??????? There is no excuse why they dont fire them????????? They did something simulair here in Ohio involving 6 new born kitties , it happened in North Ridgeville, ohio …. a animal warden was called out to pick up 6 new born kittens born to a stray cat a resident was feeding, the warden came out and shot all 6 new born kitties and their mother right in front of children, the residents were horrified , and their was lots of complaints, the Chief of the police dept agreed with the the warden shooting 6 defenseless new born kittlies, they both still hold their Jobs to this day ???????????


  17. It could be a great public service…the pictures could include a sound byte with a full description to assist their visual impairment.


    • I agree…however the only way these guys are going to get fired, is if there is more pressure from media State, national, YouTube etc. If the Sheriff’s position is a publicly voted then, I’m sure he doesn’t want these red-necks working for him when election time rolls around.
      As serious as it is, the shooting of these horses is not serious enough probably to fire them on that alone. There would have to be some endangerment to people involved.
      However…the Sheriff may have to bend under pressure if it gets too hot.

      That’s how I see it…


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