Horse owner arrested on animal abuse charges

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Denise An Denney, 59 By Mike Gertzman Denise An Denney, 59 By Mike Gertzman
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

BUCKEYE, Ariz. -- Maricopa County sheriff's deputies have arrested horse owner Denise Denney, 59, on 13 counts of animal abuse.

Denney was arrested Thursday after an investigation that started with a a tip about her alleged mistreatment of horses on her property.

Maricopa County Sheriff Office Animal Crimes detectives served a search warrant on March 12 at Denney's home.

During the search of the property, detectives seized nine horses, including a Clydesdale.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office received an anonymous letter that malnourished horses and dogs were living on a property near Sun Valley Parkway and Van Buren Street, according to Lt. Brandon Jones.

Deputies found 11 horses and 13 dogs on the property.

Jones said nine of the horses were badly malnourished and were taken to a veterinary clinic. The Clydesdale was 700 to 800 pounds underweight and is severely sick. The other horses were said to be between 300 and 400 pounds underweight.

Another horse has a rare lice infestation. Most of the horses also needed their teeth filed down and because of this they could not chew food properly and were in severe pain. All had overgrown hooves as well.

Jones said when the horses are well enough, they will go to Sheriff Joe Arpaio's shelter for abused and neglected animals.

Jones said most of the dogs have medical conditions that need to be taken care of, but they were not seized.

"What I've been told is that she's just in over her head," Jones said. "She's got too many animals. Thirteen dogs on the property, 11 horses -- horses need far more care than any dog, cats or smaller animal."