Source: story by Brett Davidsen as published on WHEC News 10
“How do you mistake a horse for a coyote?”
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