Skipped out on court before: Alberta woman accused of animal cruelty gets bail

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — A southern Alberta woman who was arrested earlier this year for failing to appear in court on animal cruelty charges has been granted bail.

April Dawn Irving is to once again live on a property in Milk River and must abide by several conditions, including not having any pets and attending court when required.

Irving, who is 59, was charged in 2015 with animal cruelty and neglect after 201 emaciated dogs were seized from a Milk River property where they were chained to stakes in a yard.

Five other dogs had starved to death.

A warrant was issued after she missed two court appearances in 2016 and officials suspected she had moved to Jamaica.

RCMP arrested her in Stonewall, Man., in January and transferred her back to Alberta.

Irving, clutching a stack of paperwork, appeared Friday via closed-circuit television from the Lethbridge Correctional Centre, but said little as the proceedings unfolded.

She was released from jail on a $1,000 no-cash surety.

Her lawyer is to be back in court May 27 to arrange a pre-trial conference.

Irving has so far pleaded guilty to one count of failing to appear and was sentenced to 30 days time served.

A recent psychiatric assessment said it was unlikely she was suffering from any mental illness at the time of the alleged offences and concluded she is fit to stand trial.

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