CALGARY – A southern Alberta woman accused in what could be one of the largest cases of animal cruelty in Canadian history has had her case put off yet again.
April Dawn Irving had her case adjourned Friday until Feb. 19. It was her seventeenth court date, though she did not appear in person.
Irving is charged with one count of cruelty to animals after five dogs were found dead on her property near Milk River, Alta. She has not yet entered a plea in the case.
The five deceased dogs were found along 201 neglected animals seized from Irving’s property in December 2014 and again in mid-January 2015. RCMP allege the dogs died of starvation.
At the time, Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS) executive director Deanna Thompson said the incident was one of the worst cases they had ever seen in terms of neglect. They said the dogs – a mixture of Huskies, Irish Wolf Hounds, Malamutes and Komondors – were in horrendous condition.
According to Irving’s lawyer, a psychiatric assessment she had been ordered to undergo during a November court appearance was delayed because of a broken leg and another medical condition.
The doctor in charge of completing her psychiatric review sent a letter to court saying many attempts had been made to schedule appointments with her. The Crown said Irving was not participating in the court process or cooperating in scheduling appointments.
On Friday, Irving was ordered to provide medical documents proving her leg injury and medical condition.
At her upcoming court appearance on Feb. 19, it’s expected the Crown will be applying to have Irving remanded in custody to complete her mental health assessment, provided she doesn’t bring medical documents.
Irving was previously convicted of animal abuse in Saskatchewan, when dozens of dogs in distress were seized in 2010.
– With files from Erik Mikkelsen, Quinn Campbell and The Canadian Press