HAMERSVILLE, Ohio -- Humane Society workers found seven malnourished horses, including one dead, at a farm in Brown County Thursday afternoon.
The property lies about nine miles northwest of Georgetown. There's a barn that served as shelter for the horses, but there was no food or thawed water anywhere in sight. The water was frozen, and the horses were forced to live in the frigid cold.
When the Humane Society arrived to rescue the animals, the owner, Dawn Ford, showed up.
Leslie Zureick of the Brown County Humane Society yelled out to Ford, "We have the permission to come and take these horses off because you're not taking care of them."
Veterinarians were there to evaluate the horses' condition, and found them on the verge of starvation. Some had other illnesses. There was no guarantee that all seven would survive. Authorities believe Ford had gone for weeks without caring for the animals.
The worst horse was found blind, sick and possibly pregnant.
Ford told officials that she moved to Northern Kentucky and thought her son was taking care of the horses. He lives nearby but wasn't providing the care that Ford thought he was. The shape of the horses helped tell that story.
The Brown County Humane Society took the horses into custody with the hope they'd find new, loving homes. As with all animals that go to the shelter, they'll be nursed and cared for. If their condition improves, they'll be given to foster families and put up for adoption.
Brittany Weber heard about the horses from a friend and went to see for herself. When she observed the condition of the animals Wednesday night, she knew they needed help right away. She was there to help officials with the rescue.
"I have two horses already and one was a rescue and she was a bag of bones when they rescued her," Weber said. "I didn't want to see those horses going through the same thing she did."
The horses continue recovery, but Weber and officials hope it's not too late for some.
The Brown County prosecutor will handle the case, officials said.
WCPO reporter Bryce Anslinger contributed to this report.