A second person has been arrested and charged in an animal cruelty investigation west of Edmonton.
Ross Andrew Atkinson, 50, of Parkland County was charged by RCMP with three counts of permitting and/or causing unnecessary pain, suffering, or injury to animals.
News of the charges comes three days after RCMP arrested and laid the same charges against 48-year-old Patricia Lynn Moore.
Police launched their criminal investigation after receiving reports of starving horses on an acreage near Entwistle, located about 90 kilometres west of Edmonton.
On Dec. 9, Lauren Nagel — who is involved in the equine industry — told Global News on Saturday that back in December, she helped removed a horse from the property with an RCMP escort, on behalf of its owner.
She said she saw many neglected and malnourished horses, calling it an “animal hoarding situation.”
She and her colleague, Brenda Belanger, said multiple horses have died.
“Very, very quickly from entering the property, there was a large number of dogs and horses,” Nagel said.
“There were horses that were severely, severely malnourished that were very, very, very underweight with visible bones — you could see every single bone in that horse’s body.
“There were horses with obvious injuries that hadn’t been taken care of.”
Bobilee Abbey, who kept her horses on the property, is outraged and said more should be done to prevent animal abuse and neglect.
In September 2018, Abbey was looking for a temporary home for her five horses while she moved to a larger property.
She said she made friends with Moore and made arrangements to house her horses at Moore’s farm.
Among the animals was Abbey’s prized gelding who needed extra attention.
“I was told that [my gelding] was going to be cared for properly and brought back up to an ideal weight,” said Abbey. “When I got him back, he almost died. He was within days… hours of dying.”
Abbey said was unaware of Moore’s history when she housed her horses on Moore’s farm.
She says she reported her own incident to RCMP.
She believes there should be stricter penalties and longer bans for anyone charged multiple times for animal neglect.
“When people are in a cycle of abuse and they’re constantly getting slapped on the hand, they go back to collecting the animals again,” said Abbey.
Police confirmed to Global News that they are investigating more allegations against Moore and Atkinson involving other horses.
When Global News reached out to Moore, she would only say she will fight the allegations in court.
WATCH BELOW: Parkland County woman Patricia Moore is facing animal cruelty charges after the alleged mistreatment of horses on a rural property
This is not the first time Moore has faced charges.
In 2010, three horses were found dead and another 16 were seized by the SPCA from a property near Carrot Creek, Alta.
Moore was charged under the Animal Protection Act and was convicted of allowing an animal to be in distress as well as failing to provide adequate food and water. Moore was fined $1,500 and was prohibited from owning more than two horses for five years.
Moore was also the focus of a Global News investigation in 2009. She faced several charges in connection with a dog breeding operation near Edson, and in 2012 was found guilty of animal neglect.
Both Atkinson and Moore have been released on bail, and are scheduled to appear in court on Monday, Jan. 14.
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