William Maxwell was arrested for animal neglect April 4, 2006. After 11?2 years, his trial started Tuesday.

People driving along Rippet Road in Seaside during the winter of 2005-06 stopped in shock at the sight of disturbingly thin horses.

A common description of the horses was that they looked like bones with the skin draped over them.

Wesley Johnson, from Seaside, said he'd been around horses all his life and hadn't seen anything like the horses he saw that day.

He said a large white horse he saw in the pasture "should have been dead."

Seaside police officers warned Maxwell that he should take measures to improve the health of his livestock. Maxwell always argued that the horses were healthy and in no danger.

After two months of monitoring the horses' decline, the police took action. Seven of Maxwell's approximately 20 horses were seized because they appeared to be losing more weight and officers were worried about their health. The remaining horses appeared to be in good health.

The seized horses - including a newborn foal - were taken to Alder Hill Farm, a nonprofit horse rescue facility in Seaside.

The horses have since been moved to another location. The jurors were scheduled to take a trip to view them today.

Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis began the prosecution of the case Tuesday afternoon in Courtroom 200.

The trial is being presided over by Clatsop County Circuit Court Judge Philip Nelson. The trial is expected to take three days.

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