The carcasses of three emaciated horses were found Monday when animal control officers served a search warrant at a property in Winchester, authorities said.
“The property on Van Gaale Lane, just east of Winchester Road, is one familiar with Animal Services officers. The owner of the horses was not complying with recommendations by officers for proper care and nutrition for the horses,” according to John Welsh of the Riverside County Department of Animal Services.
“The owner failed to work with the department and so a search warrant was obtained.”
The dead horses’ remains will be sent to a state lab for necropsies to determine the causes of their deaths, Welsh said.
Two of the horses were a specialized breed known as Pony of the Americas, he said, adding that one was a mare and the other a gelding and the third horse was a gelding of an unknown breed.
One of the officers who served the warrant reported there was no feed suitable for horses found on the property.
The woman who owned the horses had refused to allow animal control officers on her property and had rebuffed offers to assist her in “transferring the horses to a reputable equine rescue organization,” Welsh said.
The woman, whose name was not released, was not arrested, but an investigation into the horses’ treatment and deaths was ongoing, Welsh said.
“It’s been more than two years of this,” said Animal Services Sgt. Lesley Huennekens, one of two officers who served the warrant. “And there were always different horses each time we attempted to visit.”
Huennekens described the dead horses as “emaciated.”
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