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Dumb Friends League takes custody of 80 mistreated horses

Many of the horses had "severe physical injuries."

DENVER — The Dumb Friends League has taken custody of several dozen horses who they say are suffering from a variety of illnesses.

The animal welfare nonprofit will only say the horses belonged to a private owner who agreed to turn them over after a multi-week investigation by the Douglas County and Elbert County sheriff's offices.

According to the Dumb Friends League, the owner turned over a total of 80 gravely neglected, malnourished and injured horses who are in need of immediate care.

They're all now at the Dumb Friend's League's Equine Center in Douglas County. When they arrived, many of the horses were said to have had severe physical injuries, respiratory infections and seeping wounds.

"We got about 80 horses and all of them have a wide variety of medical issues -- things like critical lameness, critical quality of life concerns, poor body condition. Horses that are emaciated, underweight. Horses that are very lame, painful," said Alex Wildee, an investigator with the Colorado Humane Society, which is a program of the Dumb Friends League.

The Dumb Friends League said over the next few weeks, they will assess each horse's condition and provide them with the specialized treatment they need to ease their pain and help with their recovery. 

They declined to name the previous owner of the horses or speculate about whether they will face criminal charges.

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