Map: 144th St. & Dixeleta33.755991 -111.770090
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Maricopa County sheriff's deputies swooped in to a boarding ranch near 144th Street and Dixeleta Drive to save several malnourished horses Thursday night.
Badly dehydrated, two of the worst-off horses couldn't even stand on their own. A vet on scene estimated some of the horses could have 30 to 40 pounds of dust in their systems.
The county plans to take seven to eight horses into its custody due to malnutrition.
Deputies say the animals belong to a Michelle Salazar, who also owns the company on the property called La Caballeriza.
Neighbors have called the county, complaining that these horses have been suffering for sometime. MCSO says the owner was warned to provide the right care, but she has not.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio says they know that Salazar has been gone for weeks, and at this point, they don't know where she is. He says when they find her, she'll face several charges of animal cruelty.
"These horses have not been treated properly," he said. "No medical attention, not fed properly, just a whole list of problems that we call cruelty."
Under Arizona law, the circumstances surrounding the alleged cruelty determine whether a person can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.
Stay with 3TV as this story develops.