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Owner of dozens of malnourished horses charged with animal cruelty

Mark Walker has been charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty, according to the Park County Sheriff's Office.
Credit: Dumb Friends League

HARTSEL, Colo. — The owner of dozens of horses that were seized from a Park County property last month because they were malnourished and neglected has been charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty, according to a release from the Sheriff's Office.

Mark Walker, 65, received a summons for eight counts of animal cruelty.

The Colorado Humane Society & SPCA and Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center assisted the Park County Sheriff’s Office with the removal of 48 horses on Thursday, Feb. 21 from property in Hartsel. An additional nine neglected horses, including several pregnant mares, were removed last week, bringing the total number of horses to 57, the Park County Sheriff's Office said.

Several deceased horses were also discovered, according to the Dumb Friends League.

The horses were malnourished and severely underweight, and immediate action was needed, the release said. Most of the horses have gained a substantial amount of weight and are showing great improvement at the Harmony Equine Center in Franktown.

Credit: Dumb Friends League

They may require months of physical rehabilitation and professional training before they will be healthy and ready to be adopted to loving owners, the Dumb Friends League said.

“It is going to be very expensive to provide nourishing feed to these animals,"  said Garret Leonard, director of the Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center. "We expect to invest more than $40,000 to heal these emaciated horses."

Anyone wishing to help provide care to these horses can visit harmonyequinecenter.org or call 303.751.5772.

The Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center is a private rehabilitation and adoption facility for abused and neglected horses, ponies, donkeys and mules that have been removed from their owners by law enforcement authorities. Since Harmony opened in 2012, more than 1,500 horses have been helped.

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