An Edmonton lawyer who is accused of leaving two horses behind in the mountains west of Jasper is expected to be charged later this month.

British Columbia's SPCA says it will strongly suggest to the Crown that charges be laid against Frank Mackay, the owner of the two horses. It's believed Mackay will be charged under the Animal Protection Act offence of permitting an animal to be in distress as well as the Criminal Code offence of abandoning an animal.

If convicted, Mackay could face a maximum of five years in prison as well as prohibitions from owning certain animals.

In a previous interview with CTV News, Mackay said his actions were misunderstood.

"Surely they don't think I hauled three horses 600 kilometres to starve to death in the wilderness," said Mackay. "That would be kind of silly, wouldn't it?"

The two horses, Belle and Sundance, were rescued on Dec. 23 after volunteers spent a week digging a one-kilometre trail through deep snow. It's believed the horses were left behind mid-September when Mackay was delivering supplies to hikers near the area the horses were left behind.

When the horses were found, they were suffering from frost bite and missing hair. Their owner said he tried to help rescue them.

"We made every effort we thought we could do physically or humanly possible," said Mackay. "And after that you have to make a tough decision."

Mackay is trying to get the horses back, but the SPCA says it will fight his request.

The horses are recovering in Prince George, B.C. and are said to be doing well.