RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A woman has been arrested in connection with the more than 20 horses found dead in North Carolina.

News outlets report 64-year-old Janet Elaine Laven Burleson is charged with 24 counts of animal cruelty, covering the 22 horses and one dog found dead last week, as well as one sick dog.

Wake County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Eric Curry said Wednesday that a necropsy of four horses indicated they died from starvation.

An arrest warrant says the horses were deprived of adequate food and water and were locked inside a small pen that prevented them from fending for survival. The sheriff’s office said Burleson owned the horses, but stopped taking care of them months ago.

Tax records indicate the property belonged to Burleson’s deceased parents.

Reports didn’t include comment from Burleson.

*Editor's note: A criminal charge is an accusation, by law, a person accused of a crime is innocent until proven in a court of law.

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