Two men from British Columbia, Canada, face fines of $10,000, up to five years in prison and a ban on owning animals after a starving horse was hanged and left to die on Vancouver Island.
Last September, a 27-year-old appaloosa horse called Jalupae was hanged from a mechanical digger at a property in Brentwood Bay.
David Whiffin faces charges of killing cattle, causing unnecessary pain and suffering, failing to provide necessities for an animal and allegedly strangling the horse.
Mr Whiffin had been issued a warning by the Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) after they visited his farm in July 2009.
But on 15 September investigators say Jalupae was found emaciated with a rope tied round his neck and hanging from an excavator.
Last week the trial date was set for 25 January at Victoria Provincial Court.
But Donald McKay, Mr Whiffin’s lawyer said he client had no choice but to kill the horse after his attempts to treat the horse medically or euthanize it were unsuccessful. He said shooting the animal was illegal under state law.
Mr McKay also told local press he believes his client will plead not guilty on all charges.
Co-accused Clayton Cunningham allegedly removed the horse from the property last summer when a vet arrived to put the horse down, preventing its death by lethal injection.
Marcie Moriarty, the lead SPCA cruelty investigator told local press: “A lot of people felt helpless when hearing this situation and they want to know how they could do something about it.
“Just hearing that someone would contemplate hanging a horse in any method is terrible.”