COSTILLA COUNTY — In response to reports of eight horses that were “in danger”, including a report from an individual with the Colorado Department of Agriculture, deputies with the Costilla County Sheriff Office (CCSO) in partnership with the Colorado Humane Society rescued seven horses from private property approximately 2 miles north of Blanca on Tuesday.
When law enforcement arrived, they found the horses in poor body condition and in need of food and veterinary care. It was then discovered that the eighth horse had died over the weekend and was buried. Officials located the grave and exhumed the horse’s body in order to determine the cause of death.
The Colorado Humane Society, which is a program OF the Dumb Friends League, fed the horses and then transported them to the Harmony Equine Center in Franktown where they will receive food, a medical evaluation and veterinary care as needed.
According to Costilla County Sheriff Danny Sanchez, this was not the first time CCSO has been out to the property. Last year, after receiving a complaint, CCSO deputies had checked on the horses but did not find them in poor condition.
At that time, deputies learned how the owner, who is an elderly woman, had originally acquired the horses.
At some point prior to last year, the horses had been taken by the brand inspector after repeated incidents of getting loose and placing themselves and others in danger. The horses had ultimately been taken to auction. Upon hearing of the situation, the current owner had gone to auction where she bought all eight horses.
After receiving the complaints in the last few weeks and being notified by CCSO, an agent with the Colorado Humane Society had gone to the property, spoken to the owner and looked around. Upon seeing the condition of the horses, Colorado Humane Society decided to get involved.
Sanchez, who was on the scene when the horses were rescued, said the horses had plenty of room but inadequate food and “some but not enough water”. The owner had reportedly been receiving assistance in feeding and hauling water, as she was unable to do that herself.
When told that the horses needed to be surrendered, Sanchez reports the owner was reluctant but, when told that the CCSO would get a warrant, she surrendered the horses to authorities.
Sanchez said that charges will be filed, but the name of the owner will not be released until that process is completed.
“It is so important for people to report animal neglect,” states Bobbi Priestly, director of field and equine services. “In this case, we couldn’t make it in time to save all the horses. However, in collaboration with [CCSO], it was a team effort to safely remove the remaining horses and get them the care they desperately needed.”
“This was an unfortunate situation, but with the quick response of the Colorado Humane Society, we were able to work as a team and get the horses the help and care they needed,” adds Sheriff Sanchez.
If you suspect abuse, mistreatment or neglect is occurring, contact the Colorado Humane Society, a program of the Dumb Friends League, at (800) 249-5121 or online at https://ddfl.org/report-abus