MCSO detectives arrest woman in Aguila horse-starving case

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by Jennifer Thomas

azfamily.com

Posted on February 13, 2014 at 12:03 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 17 at 1:04 PM

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AGUILA, Ariz. – Maricopa County sheriff's detectives have made another arrest in a horse-starving case in Aguila.

Marla Corinne Valenzuela, 51, was arrested Wednesday at her home. She was booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail on seven counts of animal cruelty-related charges after detectives found four horses in very bad condition on property used by Valenzuela and her son.

Animal crimes detectives arrested Jason Valenzuela, 27, on the same charges last week.

His mother was out of the country at the time, which temporarily postponed her arrest, according to MCSO spokesman Lt. Brandon Jones.

Detectives said the horses had been neglected and were in dire need of food and medical attention.

Jones said three of the horses had dental issues where their teeth had curled, which did not allow them to eat.

The investigation began after the sheriff's office received a tip in August.

The horses were found to be in fair condition when sheriff's deputies first checked on them. Deputies then conducted several follow-up checks and noted improvement.

"They considered the case almost closed until January," Jones said. "They decided, you know, let's send a deputy to do one more check."

Sheriff's deputies found the horses malnourished and dehydrated.

The horses were seized and are now being treated at Durango Equine Veterinary Clinic in Buckeye.

"You can see all of his ribs, you can feel his vertebrae ... you shouldn't be able to feel that," veterinarian Dr. Maggie Loomer said about one of the horses.

She said the horse needs to gain about 200 pounds.

However, all four horses are expected to make a full recovery.

Upon her release from jail Thursday, Marla Valenzuela told 3TV's Kristine Harrington she did not wish to speak and referred questions about the horses' conditions to the sheriff's office.

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