An animal cruelty investigator visited a northern Missouri farm this week and came upon a gruesome sight: almost a dozen dead, decaying horses.
Starving horses in grave need of food and care were found in the same enclosure.
The Humane Society of Missouri Animal Cruelty Task Force announced this week that it rescued 16 severely malnourished horses from a Harrison County property.
The investigator had visited the property at the request of the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office.
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The property owner told the investigator that she could no longer care for the horses. The living horses ranged in age from foals to 12 and were kept in paddocks without food or veterinary care. Officials determined that of 11 deceased horses, at least four had very recently died.
The owner voluntarily surrendered 16 horses to the Humane Society, which transported the animals to the Longmeadow Rescue Ranch in Union, Mo. for rehabilitation.
The horses will eventually be put up for adoption.
Three additional horses in better condition were left in the care of the owner, who is expected to provide the animals food and veterinary services within the week.
“Our investigators will follow up with the owner to make sure these animals are receiving adequate care,” a Humane Society representative told The Star in a Facebook message.
Harrison County Sheriff Josh Eckerson said the case had been forwarded to prosecutors.
“There are no charges as of right now,” Eckerson said. “The prosecutor will decide.”