Page: B5
Date: Friday, July 11, 1997


TRACEY TULLY Staff writer

Albany A 65-year-old woman, convicted last month of starving her racehorses, was granted bail Thursday while awaiting an appeal of a Colonie jury's guilty verdict.      Albany County Court Judge Larry J. Rosen set Marie Gaida's bail at $15,000 pending an appeal by her new lawyer, Hyath B. Gross. She is not, however, permitted to own or care for horses while awaiting appeal, Assistant District Attorney Kathleen Boland said.

     Gaida, a horse trainer, was convicted May 14 of cruelty to animals following a five-day trial in Colonie Justice Court. She was sentenced last month to 60 days in jail, more than $60,000 in fines and three years without horses.      Wearing leg chains, a black shirt and white slacks, a disheveled-looking Gaida sat silently during Thursday's brief court appearance. She has been in jail since her conviction and remained behind bars late Thursday -- apparently unable to make bail, according to officials.      ``I'd rather see her do the 60 days and be done with it,'' Boland said. ``But our major concerns are that she does not own horses and that she makes some payment toward the $60,000 that she owes. Bail pending appeal is just part of the process.''

     The charge of animal cruelty stemmed from telephone tips from concerned neighbors, which were called in to the Humane Society starting in March 1996, Boland said.      State Police investigators who visited Gaida's New Loudon Road horse farm in August reported finding 19 emaciated and ailing thoroughbreds. Randall Kehoe, Gaida's original lawyer, had argued at trial that she had purchased sick horses and was in the process of restoring them to health.      Gaida's horses have since regained their health under the care of volunteers and were turned over to the Hudson-Mohawk Humane Society for adoption.      Gross said he believes he has a strong appeal case based on errors he believes were made during the suppression hearing and the trial. He charged investigators overstepped the bounds of the search warrant. He also said a State Police investigator on the case has conflicts of interest that taint her ability to be fair and objective.

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