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Sick and starved, horses saved by rescue group

Sick and starved, horses saved by rescue group

By Simone Del Rosario. CREATED Jul 22, 2013 - UPDATED: Jul 23, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Horse rescuers said it's the worst case of animal abuse they've ever seen. 

The image of a starving young horse in a broken down corral brought Nine On Your Side down  a rural road between Vail and Benson to investigate. Shortly after, Pima County Sheriff's detectives and a horse rescue group arrived.

"I just hope it's not too late," said Lynn Ismond, a ranch manager for Healing Hearts Animal Rescue and Refuge. She found out about the horses on Saturday and snapped the photos. 

"I have been sick to my stomach," she said. "I haven't been able to sleep at night knowing that we were here on Saturday and first saw this, and had to wait until today to have anything done about it.

"I don't understand why somebody didn't bring it to the authorities attention a lot sooner."

These horses' saving grace was a UPS driver who delivers on the road. He or she made a call to a rescue. Now, the horses get the chance to escape their fate. 

"If it wasn't for him or her bringing this to somebody's attention, this little guy would probably die," Ismond said. 

Instead, they get a new shot at life in the care of Healing Hearts. 

But the owners of the horses could face felony animal cruelty charges.

"Right now we're at the beginning part of the investigation," Detective Tiffani Holgate said. "The good thing is that the horses are gone; they're getting taken care of. They're going to get checked up on by a vet and then we're just going to go from there."

Healing Hearts just hoping they got the call in time. If you would like to donate to help care for these horses, click here

Simone Del Rosario

Simone Del Rosario

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Simone is the KGUN 9 On Your Side resident cowgirl. She has spent most of her life on the back of a horse, and spent all of her high school and college years traveling from rodeo to rodeo with her horses and her dog, Roper.