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Alberta woman facing animal abuse charges found fit to stand trial

A court-ordered psychiatric assessment has determined a southern Alberta woman facing animal abuse charges can be held criminally responsible for her actions.

April Dawn Irving is charged with 13 counts of cruelty to animals, 1 count of causing suffering to animals

April Dawn Irving arrested in 2014 after five dogs were found dead on a property near Milk River, Alta., along with more than 200 neglected animals that were dehydrated, starving and chained to stakes. (Milk River RCMP/AARCS)

A court-ordered psychiatric assessment has determined a southern Alberta woman facing animal abuse charges can be held criminally responsible for her actions.

April Dawn Irving, who is 59 and originally from Lethbridge, is charged with 13 counts of cruelty to animals and one count of causing suffering to animals.

The results of the assessment from the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre were presented to an agent for Irving's lawyer, Bjoern Wolkmann, in Lethbridge provincial court on Wednesday.

She was arrested in 2014 after five dogs were found dead on a property near Milk River, Alta., along with more than 200 neglected animals that were dehydrated, starving and chained to stakes.

Irving was charged and then failed to appear in court in 2016.

She was believed to have been living in Jamaica until appearing in Canada earlier this year.

She was arrested in Manitoba in January and returned to Alberta to face the outstanding charges.

On March 29, she pleaded guilty to one count of failing to appear and was sentenced to 30 days, but has pleaded not guilty to the rest of the charges.

Irving is to be back in court May 9.

With files from LethbridgenewsNow

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