A case of alleged animal abuse in Lauderdale County has led to the seizure of horses.
The last horse belonging to the owner was seized from a home in the Russell community Wednesday morning. Two weeks ago, six other horses were taken by the county.
Officials and concerned citizens call this a case of extreme abuse.
"They were skeletons. A lot of them had rain rot for not getting shelter from the rain," said Tammy Woods, a concerned citizen describing how the horses looked when she first saw them in September. "It was just a sad situation because a lot of time they went just days without eating and a horse needs to eat constantly."
Because of a lack of food, she says many of the horses' ribs were visible to the naked eye. Woods says the horses were often not taken out of the pens for weeks at a time. They had to walk and eat in small areas filled with feces.
After many failed attempts to get help, Woods says she finally received assistance from the East Mississippi Animal Rescue.
That's when the county ordered the horses to be removed from the owner. However days before they arrived, two of the nine horses died.
"When I saw the pictures, it was obvious to me that they had not been fed and were being neglected," said Lauderdale County Attorney Justin Cobb.
"She wanted them back, and based on the hearing that we had, we were requesting the court not only not to let her have the horses back but that she not have any additional horses in the future."
County Judge Frank Coleman is expected to issue a ruling next week on whether the owner may reclaim the horses.
Cobb says he has now filed criminal charges for animal neglect against the owner. If found guilty, he says she could face up to six months in jail for each of the nine charges.
The seven horses that survived have been transferred to an animal rescue facility in Chunky.