Stable operator pleads guilty to 2 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty

Lynn Brennan

Geraldine “Gerry” Trupia, accused of mistreating 85 horses and five cats in her care, appeared in Troupsburg, N.Y., town court Wednesday morning to answer five charges of animal cruelty for failure to provide adequate food, water and medical treatment for the animals.

The charges were limited to five because state law prohibits jail terms of more than two years for related misdemeanor convictions.

“Miss Trupia pled guilty to two counts of misdemeanor level animal cruelty pursuant to Section 353 of the Agriculture and Markets law,” said Patricio Jimenez, Steuben County assistant district attorney. “That was in satisfaction of the five charges that have been at this point filed against her.”

The Finger Lakes SPCA seized 85 horses and five cats from the Middle Creek/Norcrest farm in Troupsburg on Aug. 29-30. The farm is operated by Trupia and owned by her mother, Mary Ann Blazejewski.

One horse was dead when the SPCA arrived at the farm, four more were euthanized on scene and one was euthanized in the following days. The other 79 horses are currently in foster care at various farms throughout the state. The cats are being cared for at the Finger Lakes SPCA in Bath.

Trupia will appear in court for sentencing at 9 a.m., Nov. 12. She is being represented by J. Timothy Embser of Wellsville.

If sentenced, as a condition of the plea bargain, Trupia will have two probation supervision terms of three years to run concurrently, and she cannot be employed near domestic or companion animals. She also will have to have a mental health evaluation and comply with the recommended treatment.

Trupia also will have to give Animal Cruelty Investigator Scott Mazzo access to her house during normal business hours no more than twice a month. Mazzo also will be allowed to visit the property any time with the probation officer. Trupia will be expected to pay restitution.

“If at any time during the term of probation supervision there is a violation,” Jimenez said, “and the probation department reports that to the court and to my office, that would allow the judge to, if he finds that the defendant did in fact violate the agreement, the court can re-sentence the defendant.”

Each charge is punishable by up to one year in jail.

As a condition of her plea, Trupia also tearfully gave up ownership rights to her animals that were seized by the SPCA. Those animals will be adopted out. Upon proof of ownership, horses owned by third parties will be returned to their owners.

“Certain things can happen between now and the sentencing that would not bind the court to the agreed upon sentencing but allow them to deviate and perhaps impose some other sentence,” Jimenez said. “Typically, a court can and will do that if a defendant doesn’t show up for sentencing or if the defendant is re-arrested between the date of the plea and the date of the actual sentencing.”

Jimenez would not comment on whether Blazejewski is facing any charges.

“At this point we consider it to be an open investigation,” Jimenez said. “Generally, our policy is with any open investigation, we don’t really comment.”

As the investigation continues, other charges are possible against Trupia and others.

Eight of the horses removed from Trupia’s farm were taken to the Alfred State College Pioneer Farm, where they are being nursed back to health under the direction of Vicki Bolton, department chair of the animal science program at ASC.

Many of the horses at the farm have gained 75-100 pounds since their arrival, Bolton said. The horses are going through a ton of hay a week.

Trupia declined comment Wednesday morning but said she will come forward with her side of the story once the case is settled.

The Evening Tribune