Eighteen “emaciated” horses on a property north of Cortez have been seized by the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office and transported to a sanctuary for 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.
The horses were found in “emaciated condition,” said Sheriff Steve Nowlin. “They were in poor shape and were not being fed adequately.”
The case is still under investigation, he said, and animal neglect charges are being considered. The horses are owned by Daisy Stenzel, according to the 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, and the horses were removed April 16.
Harmony Equestrian Rescue Center in Frankton, Colorado, agreed to accept the horses, and they are now “receiving the best daily care,” Nowlin 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.
One of the animals was a recently born foal. Stenzel told to investigators that she didn’t know that the mare was pregnant.
Stenzel admitted that the horses have not been receiving veterinary or farrier care.
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.”
Deputy Huhn and agent Garcia had been to the same property in October 2017 after a complaint of neglect. At that time, the horses were in acceptable condition, and grazing was available on the property.
“From October 2017 until the present, the horses have severely deteriorated,” the report said. “There is now no grazing available, and minimal amounts of hay.”
Nowlin said the horses were receiving water. But as of April 11, according to the report, Stenzel was struggling to provide irrigation water because she had lost water certificates and could not pay the reissue fees and turn the water back on.
All 18 horses were removed and transported to the sanctuary. Before the seizure, the horses were also examined by State Veterinarian Dr. Dan Love, who agreed they should be seized. In his opinion, two of the horses were in fair condition, and the rest were in poor overall body condition, according to the report.
Nowlin said cattle on the property appeared to be in good health. Sheep also were present. Owners were asked to shear the sheep, and investigators planned to return to determine their health condition, Nowlin said.
The horses’ condition were documented with photographs, but Nowlin declined to release them because the case was still being investigated.