Sheriff: Starving Horses Discovered In Park County

Park County Deputies Investigating Possible Animal Abuse

Deputies in Park County are investigating reports of several malnourished horses in the Echo Valley Ranch area.

The discovery was made earlier this week when deputies with Routt County went to the ranch to rescue two horses seized under court order, CALL7 Investigators have learned.

Park County Sheriff Fred Wegner said his office was contacted by deputies in Routt County who were on the property trying to take possession of the horses.

One of those horses being seized died. The other was taken to the Aspen Creek Veterinarian Hospital in Conifer.

Veterinarians treating the rescued horse told CALL7 Investigators that they saw the other horses and believed they were malnourished.

Veterinarian Amy Murdock said her coworkers saw "lots of horses that were underfed, poor conditions, not much food or water, if any, and several downed horses."

Murdock said one of the horses had several open wounds and wasn't able to get up.

"It can't switch sides or get comfortable and it's urinating and defecating on itself," Murdock said.

She said the horse that was taken to the facility, known as "Little Big Man," was doing better.

"We actually had to physically lift him to help him stand. He can't get up on his own yet," Murdock said.

She said he was devouring the food and water that vets were providing to him.

"I don't think he has stopped since we put it in front of him," Murdock said.

CALL7 Investigator John Ferrugia spoke with the owner of the horses. He disagrees with the veterinarians at Aspen Creek, saying it was one vet's opinion.

Wegner said his office will monitor the horses every other day. He said after speaking with the State Veterinarian's Office and three other vets it was decided best to leave the horses on the property and continue their treatment on location.

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