A serious case of animal neglect in Spring Hill left one horse dead and another struggling to survive, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said Wednesday.
Nocco said neighbors called deputies when they saw the two horses outside a home on Hardcastle Road looking extremely malnourished. The sheriff said the animals were starving to death.
"When [investigators] tell us that these horses were probably some of the worst horses they've seen in conditions, that's really sad," Nocco said.
One of the animals was in such bad shape a veterinarian determined it had to be put down. Nocco said the owner of the horses could face a felony charge because of the death resulting from neglect.
"The owner of these horses could have notified a shelter, could have notified somebody sooner, rather than having the horse die," Nocco said.
One of the neighbors who found the horse and called authorities. Sharyl Horbal says she has cared for horses since she was 9 years old, and couldn't believe the conditions of these animals.
"It was really bad," Horbal said. "She was laying in the direct sun on the sand and she was so far gone she couldn't even lift up her head."
Experts with the sheriff's office will care for the surviving horse until it's in better condition before trying to find a new family to care for it.
"I'm glad at least one horse got saved," Horbal said. "And I'm glad that...even though [one horse] had to be put down, she's not there anymore either."
FOX 13 went to the house of the horses' owner but was unable to make contact with the woman who could face charges.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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