Alberta woman charged after horses found dead, starving on rural property

An Alberta woman is facing animal cruelty charges after RCMP investigated reports of dead and starving horses on an acreage west of Edmonton.

Patricia Lynn Moore, 48, was arrested Friday on her Parkland County property west of Edmonton

Lauren Nagel took this photo of horses on Patricia Moore's property on Dec. 9. Moore previously faced trial on animal cruelty charges in 2010. (Lauren Nagel)

Warning: Story contains an image that may be disturbing to some readers.

An Alberta woman is facing animal cruelty charges after RCMP investigated reports of dead and starving horses on an acreage west of Edmonton.

Patricia Lynn Moore, 48, is charged with three counts of permitting or causing unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to animals.

She was arrested on her property near Entwistle on Jan. 4. 

Evansburg RCMP began investigating after the first complaint was received on Dec. 12, Cpl. Chris Warren said.

The charges are in relation to three horses found dead on the property. Warren could not confirm how many horses were at the acreage, and whether they have since been removed from the property.

"The investigation involved collecting evidence including from veterinary services that provided us the grounds to lay these charges," he said.

'Disturbing allegations'

The Alberta SPCA is conducting a separate investigation, Warren said. When reached for comment, Alberta SPCA spokesman Dan Kobe said the organization had not been asked for assistance by the RCMP.

As part of Moore's bail conditions, she is prohibited from owning or caring for animals, Warren said.

"We understand the public concern for these … disturbing allegations," he said.

This emaciated horse was spotted on Moore's property on Dec. 20. (Supplied/Lauren Nagel)

"We thank those who came forward with information to police, and would encourage anybody else who has any information either with regards to this incident or any other incidents we may not be aware of to come forward and share that information with police."

Nikki Wellman runs a dog breeding business near Moore's property. She said there are at least 70 horses on the acreage, "all of them visibly thin — very, very thin."

"Every single time that you drive past her place, there's never any food, no grass in the summertime, no water available for the horses," she said.

Brenda Belanger works in the equine industry and said there are between 50 and 70 horses on the property.

She said she saw two dead horses on Moore's property on Dec. 20, and reported it to police. Neighbours have raised concerns about the state of the horses on the property since 2010, she said.

"Any type of animal neglect and abuse, it's not acceptable. It's appalling," she said.

Warning: Graphic photo below

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. 

She had two remaining horses at the time and was ordered to provide the Alberta SPCA with a written veterinary report on their condition, as well as provide them with regular veterinary checkups.

One of the dead horses Belanger says she saw on the property on Dec. 20. (Supplied/Brenda Belanger)