PORTLAND, Conn. (WTNH) — A horse trainer faces 20 counts of animal cruelty for allegedly torturing and abusing animals at White Birch Farm in Portland.

Portland police arrested 30-year-old Alexis Wall, of East Hampton, last Friday following an investigation by the state Department of Agriculture that started in May.

Wall was charged with 20 counts of animal cruelty, including nine counts of torture, seven counts of mutilating or cruelly beating or unjustifiably injuring an animal, two counts of failing to provide proper drink, and two counts of overworking, according to the arrest warrant.

According to the affidavit, a woman who boarded her horse at the farm told the state Department of Agriculture that she had witnessed horses, “tied for hours with no access to water, that she had observed more than one horse bleeding from the mouth after being ridden or having their head tied tightly to the saddle, and horses whipped excessively.”

“How can there be anybody that would even be like that and do something so wrong and cruel to animals?” asked Nina Lizardi of Portland.

Fran Dinatale, also of Portland, said her daughter boarded her horse at White Birch Farm on Sand Hill Road about six years ago and moved it because she didn’t like how it was treated.

“I was surprised because I thought they had taken care of all of that back when,” Dinatale said. “You’re supposed to put them out in the pasture at least once a day. They kept the poor horse in the barn.”

According to the arrest warrant, Wall was frustrated with one miniature horse and “took his head and slammed it into the wall.

She also allegedly told students pain is part of training and that, “the pain must be great enough to make a lasting impression.”

“It shouldn’t be pain at all,” Lizardi said. “I mean, that’s just the wrong way to go about it. That just makes the animals more traumatizing, and it doesn’t make it even better. So, that’s the worst thing you can do.”

Wall was released from custody after posting a $100,000 bond. She is due in Middlesex Superior Court on Sept. 15.