Edmonton

Woman faces 60 new charges after starving horses seized from Alberta acreage

A woman charged with animal cruelty after RCMP investigated reports of starving and emaciated horses at an acreage west of Edmonton is facing 60 additional charges in the case.

65 horses, 6 dogs were seized from property

A concerned Parkland County resident took this photo of horses on Patricia Moore's property on Dec. 20. Moore previously faced trial on animal cruelty charges in 2010. (Lauren Nagel)

RCMP have laid 60 more charges of animal cruelty against an Evansburg woman as a result of a continuing investigation into reports of starving and emaciated horses at an acreage west of Edmonton.

Patricia Lynn Moore, 48, had already been charged with three counts of permitting and causing unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to animals after three horses were found dead her property.

RCMP announced the new charges in a statement Wednesday. 

Police searched Moore's property near Entwistle on Tuesday and seized 65 horses and six dogs from the property.  

"The animals were alive but in varied states of health," said Cpl. Chris Warren in an interview with CBC News. 

"There were no dead animals discovered on the property but out of the animals that were seized, there was a concern for their well-being.

Warren declined to provide further details on the condition of the animals but confirmed that RCMP have received numerous tips about starving horses on the farm.

"We've definitely made arrangements so the animals in need of care will get that care." 

Moore, who has a previous conviction for cruelty to animals, remains in custody and was due to appear by phone in Stony Plain provincial court Wednesday morning.

Moore was initially arrested on her property on Jan. 4 but had been out on bail. Bail conditions included restrictions on her ability to house animals on her acreage.

"Other than a genuine concern for the well-being of these animals, there were court-imposed conditions that animals could not be on the property under the care of Moore, so we needed to act," Warren said.  

Ross Andrew Atkinson, 50, is also facing animal cruelty charges in the case. He's facing three counts of permitting or causing unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to animals.

Warren said additional charges against Atkinson could be possible as the investigation continues. 

Atkinson, a resident of Parkland County, was released from custody after a bail hearing, RCMP said. He is set to appear in Evansburg provincial court on Jan. 14.

RCMP Livestock Investigations, the Alberta SPCA, brand inspectors, Sangudo Veterinary Clinic, Parkland County and Lac St. Anne County assisted in Tuesday's animal seizure operation. 

The Alberta SPCA is conducting a separate investigation but declined to provide additional details.

Criminal record

Moore previously faced trial on animal cruelty charges in 2010 related to the seizure of horses, rabbits and dogs from a farm near Carrot Creek.

Early that year, 16 horses were removed from her property. A dead horse found on the property was later determined to have died while in labour due to her "poor body condition," the SPCA said. 

She was charged with four counts of allowing animals to be in distress and four counts of failing to ensure animals have adequate food and water. 

Court heard one mare on the property had a fist-sized hole between her eyes, and some animal cages were so full of feces they were difficult to open.

Moore was found guilty in 2012 and fined $1,500, according to a media release from the Alberta SPCA. She was also prohibited from owning or caring for more than two horses for five years, until Feb. 21, 2017. 

RCMP have issued an additional warning to members of the public who want to help with the care of the seized animals, urging them to only give donations through proper channels.

Police are concerned fraudsters may attempt to take advantage of the large public concern around the investigation. 

"There has been a lot of buzz on social media about this," Warren said.

"If the public is seeking to support animals in any way as a result of this, if they're donating to any such cause, they need to ensure that it's a legitimate cause."