FORT LUPTON, Colo. - The Weld County Sheriff's office is investigating a case of possible horse abuse in Ft. Lupton. Neighbors call it neglect, but the horse owners say the animals are just battling an illness.
"They've been starving all summer. They never feed them," said neighbor Angelena Kamerzell. "My concern is that I'm going to have to watch these other two starve to death."
One of the three horses died late last week.
Deputies are investigating claims of animal cruelty.
Charlette Yarbrough tells 7NEWS the horses are suffering from an intestinal infection from the blue-winged dragon fly.
"We have done everything that we were told to do," said Yarbrough. "The horse that died was 28-years-old. He just didn't come back. They get fed twice a day, every day."
Yarbrough asserts the horses she and her sister care for are not starving and shows us a trailer with a bag of feed, but no hay.
"We're feeding them the food the vet told us to feed them," she said.
The case has triggered a Facebook page which has now been shared 6,000 times by people all over the world. Even prompting several horse lovers like Pam Weiss to drive by.
"I was just looking to see if I could help," said Weiss. "Maybe I could take them for a while and feed them until the owner's lives get better."
Yarbrough insists it's not a financial issue, but the Weld County sheriff has moved the horses while the department investigates.
Neighbors say the owners moved the horses, not the sheriff's department.
"They're just starving to death," said Kamerzell.
"We can't even walk out the door without seeing these poor, starving horses," said another neighbor who identified herself only as Susan. "They need a home where somebody loves them. These people seem to think they love their horses, but they never go out there, they don't work with them, they don't do anything with them."
"I can't watch the other two starve to death," said Kamerzell. "It's horrible."
The Weld County sheriff sent a statement to the media Wednesday which says the department has received numerous phone calls urging further action. The sheriff's office says it has taken substantial investigative steps.