Eleven horses described as emaciated have been taken into care in Laclede County, Missouri, in a joint operation.
The Humane Society of Missouri’s Animal Cruelty Task Force took part in the operation and the horses are now being looked after by the charity.
The removal of the horses from a property outside Lebanon was carried out in cooperation with veterinarians from the Missouri Department of Agriculture and the Laclede County Sheriff’s Office.
The charity described the horses as emaciated, with spines, ribs and hips projecting prominently.
One mare in poor condition was heavily pregnant, it said.
The charity alleged the animals had no access to water and the little hay on the property was of poor quality.
It said the condition of the animals had continued to deteriorate in recent weeks, despite multiple recommendations about proper care given to the owner by Humane Society of Missouri animal cruelty investigators and Missouri state veterinarians.
The Laclede County Sheriff Office will recommend charges of animal abuse be filed against the owner, the society said.
The owner agreed to surrender the horses to the society’s Longmeadow Rescue Ranch.
The animals have been taken to the ranch for veterinary care, lengthy rehabilitation and eventual adoption for as many of the horses as possible.
“Horses do not become this dangerously close to death overnight,” said Amanda Mullen, director of Longmeadow Rescue Ranch.
“It is tragic to see them come to the ranch in this condition. They will need many months of special feeding and veterinary care to fully recover.”