A trial has started for an Alberta woman facing dozens of animal cruelty charges after her horses were found dead and starved.

Patricia Moore was in Stony Plain Provincial Court Monday to face six of those allegations.

Two horses were found dead on a property she was renting near Evansburg in late 2018.

Under the Criminal Code, Moore faces two counts each of willfully causing pain to an animal, cruelty to an animal, and killing, wounding or maiming an animal.

She was allegedly in care of dozens of other horses on the land, too.

In court, veterinarian Ralf Sanders recalled being called out to examine the animals on the acreage in December 2018.

Of many he considered malnourished, Sanders described one foal as a “bag of bones.”

He told court the young animal had “bones sticking through the skin, so weak you could push him over easy.”

Other than snow, he said there was no food or water visibly accessible to the horses at the time.

He also examined two dead horses who had “zero body fat.”

Sanders believes they starved to death.

According to the landowner Josh Harper, he provided the pasture acres and water, but it was Moore’s responsibility to ensure her animals were fed.

On the witness stand, she claimed the opposite. 

Harper said he never would have agreed to that. 

He said she agreed to rent the land from him for $6,000 for 10 months, but only made one $1,500 payment. 

“My wife did tell me a few times I should tell her to get the animals off the land, but I was being nice and I didn’t,” Harper told court.

Three days are set aside for the trial.

If convicted, the maximum penalty she could face is more than a decade in jail and possibly a lifetime ban from owning animals. 

Moore also faces 41 charges from the Alberta SPCA under the Animal Protection Act.

RCMP seized 65 horses from the Evansburg property in January 2019 with help from the SPCA.

The SPCA charges will be dealt with another time.