Authorities in Tacoma, Washington on Wednesday said that they had seized 39 horses that were sickly, emaciated and living in inhumane conditions.


The Pierce County Sheriff's Department told KING5 that Animal Control officers obtained a search warrant after another law enforcement agency suspected the horses were being abused. About a dozen Arabians and some stallions were recovered in the raid.

"Think puppy mill, but for horses," Pierce County Sheriff's Office Detective Ed Troyer explained to MyNorthwest.com. "The conditions are deplorable. ... I don't think any living thing should live like these horses are."

The animals were reportedly living in conditions that included "large amounts of urine and feces in the stalls."

"Anyone who has any experience with equine medicine knows hoof care and what happens when you're standing in one foot of manure and urine for months at a time has devastating consequences on horses," Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson noted.

The horses were transported for veterinary care and will be held as evidence.

"They have not been handled in a very long time, they literally have 'night eyes' so they're very sun sensitive and are having trouble with depth perception," Anderson said.

The owners could be charged with animal cruelty in the second degree.

Watch this video from KING5, broadcast Sept. 26, 2012.

(h/t: NBC News)