Authorities have removed five dead horses and five starving horses from a farm near Harrisburg in a suspected case of equine hoarding.
Cruelty charges are pending against Rebecca Roberts, an attorney, and breeder of Morgan horses, according to the Patriot-News of Harrisburg.
The five dead horses were discovered at Roberts' Palmyra farm Friday, and five emaciated horses are in the care of veterinarians after being removed by the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area.
"I've never seen anything like it," said HSHA executive director Amy Kaunas of the extremely unsanitary conditions and lack of adequate food and water at the dilapidated farm.
Authorities left behind 24 horses whose body indexes were said to be 2 or 3 on a scale of 1 to 9, or slightly above the starvation point of the five seized horses.
They said the investigation is ongoing and that they are working with Roberts to properly care for the remaining horses.
Humane Society officials obtained a search warrant after Roberts failed to respond to warnings to get veterinary care for the animals and after a humane officer saw a dead horse in an open barn.
Kaunas told the Patriot when they entered the property Friday, they discovered the remains of at least four other horses in varying stages of decomposition.
The five horses removed from the property have received a veterinary assessment, and Kaunas said the "focus right now is really helping these five horses survive into the new year."
An Internet search shows Roberts advertised her farm as Shadowland Morgans and Sport Horses.
This is the second horse seizure this month in Palmyra, a largely rural area near Penn National racetrack that has a number of horse farms. On Dec. 19 Pennsylvania State Police removed two emaciated thoroughbreds from a farm owned by Janie Jeskey, a food service operator and sometime race horse breeder. She has been charged with two counts of animal cruelty.