Warning: Video may contain disturbing content.

DEMING, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico organization is under investigation for its treatment of dozens of horses. The organization in Deming did not have a license to take care of horses, and some of the animals had to be euthanized.

Shawn Davis is the Deputy Director New Mexico Livestock Board. He said in March, the New Mexico Livestock Board received complaints about horses and their living conditions.

“Ribs protruding and hip bones protruding. Their necks bones were insinuating, which means they’re not getting enough feed,” said Davis.

The state said the owners of the ranch did not have a license with them to be able to take care of the animals. The New Mexico Livestock Board began to work with them to fix the living conditions of the animals. That way, they could apply for their license, but in those seven months, they didn’t see the improvements necessary to move forward.

“There were slight improvements but not enough improvements for us to believe that the animals were going to get to a condition that they needed to be in,” said Davis, “We finally determined that we were at a point where we needed to move and take care of the horses.”

The owners voluntarily surrendered, or relinquished, 31 horses.

“The day of the relinquishment, one animal was euthanized, and in the subsequence weeks, four more animals were euthanized for chronic illnesses that we could not see that they could recover from,” said Davis.

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The owners of the ranch, who are not being named because they have not been charged with a crime, posted on Facebook that they both got COVID a year ago and had to be put on oxygen. They were out of work and still tried to take care of all the animals. Also, they said the state did leave some animals on their property, which they are caring for right now.

The deputy director said their next step is to determine whether there was criminal intent. From there, it will be determined if the owners will be charged with animal cruelty under the state.

KRQE reached out to the owners of the ranch, and they stated they have begun to rebuild their property, and they hope to start helping horses again.