This week, Will Furse, district attorney for the 22nd Judicial District, filed 18 misdemeanor animal cruelty charges, one for each horse and a foal. The charges allege that Stenzel failed to provide the animals with proper food, drink or protection from the weather, in violation of Colorado law.
After complaints and an investigation, the horses were seized by the Sheriff’s Office on April 16 and transported to the Harmony Equestrian Rescue Center in Frankton, Colorado, for sanctuary and rehabilitation.
On April 11, agriculture deputy Dave Huhn and Gerald Garcia, a Bureau of Animal Protection agent, inspected the horses at 24058 County Road N and deemed them in poor health due to lack of nutrition, according to a Sheriff’s Office incident report.
Local veterinarian Dr. Sue Grabbe examined the horses on April 13, and agreed they were in poor body condition. A seizure warrant was then granted by District Court Judge Doug Walker.
Sheriff Steve Nowlin said the horses were found in “emaciated condition. They were in poor shape and were not being fed adequately,” he said.
Stenzel told investigators that she had been feeding the horses “four loaf flakes in the morning and four loaf flakes in the evening.” No grazing was available on the property, according to the report.
Stenzel admitted that the horses have not been receiving veterinary or farrier care. One of the animals was a recently born foal, and she told investigators that she didn’t know that the mare was pregnant.
Nowlin said Stenzel inherited the horses from her mother.
“People need to ask for help in these situations. There are assistance programs available,” Nowlin said. “We see this often, where people don’t have the pocketbook to take care of their animals.”
Stenzel forfeited the horses to the Sheriff’s Office, Nowlin said, and then ownership was transferred to the Harmony Rescue Center, which will offer them for adoption.
“They are being taken care of,” he said. “We continue to get a lot of animal neglect complaints and are monitoring those cases.”
If an animal is seized because of neglect, the owner is liable for costs of care and provisions, and if not paid in time, the animals are forfeited.
In Stenzel’s case, the cost of care for the 18 horses came to $6,120, according to court records.