HARMONY, Colo. — Law enforcement officers and a rescue organization removed dozens of emaciated and sick horses from several Park County properties Thursday, as some were even found dead.
The forty-eight removed horses will require months of physical rehabilitation and professional training before they can be adopted out to a forever family.
Garret Leonard with the Dumb Friends League helped the horses and brought them to an equine facility in Harmony on Thursday.
“You should not be able to grab a horse's spine like this,” Leonard said as he showed how severely underweight several of the horses were.
It’s still under investigation and unclear how long and why the horses were neglected, as well as why the owner had so many horses on three properties.
“The owner just didn’t have enough food in front of them to keep their body in condition," Leonard said. "You can look at horses all over the country that can make it through the winters just fine, because they’ve been fed properly.”
Getting them healthy again is the most important task and a huge undertaking. One of the horses was at least two hundred pounds underweight.
“Anytime you can save a life...and what better day is there than that?” Leonard said.
Since 2012, the Dumb Friends League has taken in more than 800 horses from animal cruelty cases and owner surrenders. The rescue organization also adopts out hundreds a year, Leonard said.
“This is preventable and that’s why we’re here because unfortunately, people don’t make that call and so we step in. We bring them here. We help them,” Leonard said.
It will cost nearly $40,000, Leonard said, to cover food and vet services and more than five months to bring them back to health before they can be adopted.
“There was no option for these horses. If we didn’t step in when we did, I don’t know what would have really happened to these horses,” Leonard said.
If you’d like to donate or are interested in adopting a horse, visit Harmonyequinecenter.org.