Nearly 100 neglected animals rescued from a Central Texas property are being cared for at Fort Worth-area rehabilitation facilities, according to the Humane Society of North Texas, or HSNT.
In a written statement, the organization said a team of five investigators traveled to the property in Falls County, southeast of Waco, to rescue 53 chickens, nine horses, eight donkeys, eight piglets, six hogs, four cats, a goose and a dog from the property.
“It’s not something you get used to,” said Whitney Hanson with the Humane Society of North Texas. “You don’t get used to seeing animals treated like this. When I saw the photographs of the scene my heart just broke.”
The HSNT said the owner responsible for the animals was arrested last week on unrelated charges, leaving the emaciated animals to suffer.
The team was dispatched Dec. 21 after receiving a number of concerned messages from people who lived near the property. The owner agreed to hand over the animals Monday, which allowed the HSNT investigators to rescue the animals, the organization said.
HSNT arrived to find two dead horses in the pasture, which was barren of edible grass for grazing. The 15 remaining horses were either severely malnourished or borderline, the society said.
"It took months of starvation for these horses and donkeys to become as thin as they are and it will take months on a special feeding program to get them back to a healthy weight," said Dr. Cynthia Jones, HSNT veterinarian.
In addition to being unfed, the horses were all carrying heavy loads of intestinal parasites, which greatly increased weight loss, the statement said.
Several cats and dehydrated chickens were found inside the home, the floor of which was covered in animal feces, according to investigators.
The animals were taken to livestock properties run by the HSNT around Fort Worth. The organization asked for the public's help in funding rehabilitation costs, which were estimated to be about $15,000.
"There are people who are unable to care for their animals, but just don't reach out to organizations or don't know who to reach out to," said Hanson.
"This is always a good time for us to remind people if they're having trouble feeding their live stock, that they can call us and we will do what we can assist them or take in the animal so that we can find them a home so that they can be cared for properly," Hanson said.
The rehabilitation process included specialized feeding programs, deworming, vaccinations, and medications.
Donations can be submitted on the HSNT website, or by mail at 1840 East Lancaster Avenue, Fort Worth, TX 76103.
Anyone interested in adopting the animals saved from the Falls County property can email email@example.com for more information.
NBC 5's Johnny Archer contributed to this report.