Page: B1
Date: Thursday, June 26, 1997


JANE GOTTLIEB Staff writer

COLONIE -- The Latham trainer who neglected her thoroughbreds, leaving them at the brink of death, was handed a stiff sentence Wednesday: 60 days in jail, more than $60,000 in fines and three years without horses.      Marie Gaida also forfeited the 19 neglected horses under the sentence that was about as harsh as prosecutors had hoped for.

  ``These animals were emaciated,'' said Town Judge Mary S. Sweeney as caretakers of Gaida's ailing horses embraced in the rear of the courtroom. ``They were not given proper veterinary or farrier care or food or drink. You resisted offers of free veterinary care and insisted they were being well cared for. . . . These horses were walking skeletons.''      Gaida, 67, of 1133 New Loudon Road was convicted in May of neglecting horses last summer. They have since regained their health under the care of others and will be turned over to the Hudson-Mohawk Humane Society for adoption.      As part of Gaida's sentence of three years on probation, she cannot care for horses. She was fined $2,000 on the charges and must reimburse the Humane Society $60,057.      ``I would have liked to see her in jail for a good long time and never be allowed to own horses again,'' said prosecutor Kathleen Boland. ``But the law doesn't allow that, so we're very, very happy.''

     During her five-day trial, Gaida's lawyer, Randall Kehoe, argued she was rehabilitating nine malnourished horses from Florida. Kehoe plans an appeal.      Before handing over her purse to Kehoe and leaving for jail, Gaida told the court she had been ``crucified.''      ``It took eight months to starve my horses (in Florida),'' she said. ``It took eight months to bring them back to health. I was not given eight months. The caretakers were.''

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