Two men who faced charges after the carcasses of nearly 30 horses were discovered at a farm near Andrew, Alta., each pleaded guilty Monday in a Vegreville court to one count of allowing animals to be in distress.

Axel Hinz-Schleuter and Dale Huber were originally charged with 12 of the distress counts under the Animal Protection Act, but the Crown withdrew the remaining 11 charges after guilty pleas were entered on the one count.

The judge issued an order banning Hinz-Schleuter from owning horses for 50 years and Huber for 10. But the order does allow the men to own a maximum of 40 animals, excluding horses and poultry, and up to 80 fowl, according to David Dear, spokesperson for Alberta Justice.

Hinz-Schleuter and Huber will be back in court in Vegreville on Dec. 17 when the judge will render a decision on a fine and restitution, Dear said. 

The men could face a maximum fine of $20,000 and a maximum of $2,000 in restitution. 

On Feb. 26, peace officers with the Alberta SPCA seized about 100 emaciated and sick horses, mostly Arabians, from the farm owned by Hinz-Schleuter, northeast of Edmonton.

The carcasses of nearly 30 others were discovered on the farm. Officials believed the animals had starved to death.

Most of the surviving horses were turned over to Susan Fyfe, owner of Keno Hills Stable in Ardrossan, east of Edmonton, to nurse them back to health.

By July, Fyfe and a crew of volunteers had found new homes for all the animals.