RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Deputies are investigating a horrifying case of animal cruelty in Wake County.
A dog and 21 horses were found dead inside a pen on Fanny Brown Road.
“Can you imagine any one of those just ignoring them just letting them stand in their pen just letting them die? I just think about that,” said Lisa Howard, President of the Board of Directors for Horses for Hope.
For people like Howard and Tony Roberts, this tragedy hits close to home.
“To see something like this happen it’s just devastating,” said Tony Roberts, facilities manager and horse trainer at Horses for Hope. “It’s inexcusable.”
The pair are volunteers for Horses for Hope, a therapeutic riding center that’s just a few blocks away from the property where the horses were found dead.
A volunteer for Horses for Hope made the disturbing discovery. She says a neighbor asked her to check on the horses because they had not seen the person who owns the property in a month.
“She walked over there expecting to see live horses and just walked in on those 20 horses and their small pens and some of them were lying on top of others,” Howard said.
“It’s beyond what I think any of us can imagine,” she added.
Roberts believes the animals died of thirst and one of them looked like it had tried to get out of the pen to get water.
“That’s a whole herd of horses just starved and thirsty to death for no reason at all and we’re half a mile from them. All they had to do was say, ‘Hey were in over our heads,’ and we’d be glad to help them out,” Roberts said.
Neighbors say the couple who owns the property passed away and their daughter had been taking care of the horses.
Reporter Kelly Kennedy with WAVY sister station WNCN CBS 17 searched North Carolina property records and found another address for a relative who was also connected to the property.
Roberts hopes whoever is responsible is held accountable.
“God help ya, cause you need it,” Roberts said to the culprit. “I mean really what else do you say to somebody who does something like that.”
The only survivor was a dog, who was also in bad shape.
The Wake County Sheriff’s Office says they do have a person of interest.
We did not identify the family because authorities have not charged anyone in this case yet.