EUSTIS, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Horrific images -- snapshots from the Lake County Sheriffs Office -- show malnourished horses. One horse pictured is so thin, you can see every ridge in the animal's spine; on another you can see each rib down its flank, and a full side view shows every bone in the equine's body.
Deputies say all are rescue horses were under the care of Angel King at King's Cove Horse Rescue. Now, she's in jail charged with animal cruelty.
"We received an anonymous tip that there were some very skinny looking horses at this property. Our animal services investigators went out and checked on the horses. They were obviously malnourished," said Sgt. Jim Vachon.
Deputies say they they rate a horse's health on a one to nine scale -- one meaning emaciated and nine meaning healthy. LCSO says two horse scored zeros, noting the animals were so thin, "skin stretched over their bones."
A veterinarian rated one horse's health as a "one," and the other four were rated as "twos."
"They spoke with the woman who was arrested and basically gave her a plan to get these horses back into good condition. They went back in two days and none of the plan they had implemented had been implemented," said Sgt. Vachon.
Investigators say, in that two day's time, King did not have any food or nutrients on hand to get those horses healthy again.
Karl Shirey says King has been running her horse rescue for 20 years, and says he helps care for the animals.
"It's basically just a railroad job," said Shirey.
He says the horses were being fed and cared for. Shirey also tells FOX 35 that the two horses who were said to be grossly emaciated were old and have health issues.
"One's name is 'Chance.' He has gastro something or other. He can't digest his food, so we have to take his feed and soak it. He has no teeth. And the other horse, 'Vegas,' we've had a problem with her since she's been here. She's always had a problem with up and down weight," said Shirey.
LCSO says that's not the case.
"She basically did nothing. They were so bad off the county veterinarian said they had to be taken immediately," said Sgt. Vachon.
Vachon says all seven horses are now being cared for at an undisclosed "reputable rescue".
King is being held on a $35,000 bond.