An investigation is underway after Riverside County officials found three dead horses Monday on the grounds of a Winchester property amid “deplorable” conditions with no appropriate food in sight, authorities said.
Riverside County Department of Animal Services officers carried out a search warrant at the property on Van Gaale Road, the agency said in a written statement.
Officials described the bodies of the three dead horses as emaciated, officials said. Two of them, a mare and a gelding, belonged to the Pony of the Americas breed. The third horse, a gelding, was of unknown breed.
“The horses will be transported to a state lab and necropsies will be performed to determine the cause of death,” animal services officials said.
“The conditions of the horses and the barn where they were being kept were deplorable,” Department of Animal Services Sgt. Lesley Huennekens said. Officers were unable to find any proper horse feed on the premises.
Authorities have been concerned about the animals at the property for two years, according to the Department of Animal Services.
“The department’s officers offered many times to assist the woman by transferring the horses to a reputable equine rescue organization,” according to the statement. “Each offer was declined.”
Recent conversations with the woman, who had also refused officers access to her property to perform inspections, prompted officials to seek the search warrant, officials added.
Official did not identify the owner of the horses. The investigation is ongoing.