A Lancaster woman pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty charges months after county officials discovered more than 20 malnourished horses, four of which died, on her property, authorities said.
Jessica Porter Warren, 72, faces 10 felony counts of cruelty to an animal and one misdemeanor count each of failure to care for an animal, failure to provide shelter and injurious conditions, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
In June 2018, county animal control officials responded to a call about a dead horse at her ranch in the area of 247th East Street.
The owner initially denied authorities access to the property and said the horses were fine, Animal Care and Control Sgt. Rachel Montez-Kemp said at the time.
Once they managed to enter the ranch, they found “animals in such bad shape that we were afraid that they would drop dead,” Montez-Kemp said.
Two horses did die while the officials were there, and two more had to be euthanized later, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Animal control that day removed 22 emaciated horses that needed immediate care, according to the agency. More than half of them were mares and their babies, with malnourished foals as young as 4 months.
Warren was arrested on Feb. 20 and remains in jail on $210,000 bail, inmate county records show.
She’s scheduled to return to court on April 18.