WRIGHT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -- An Ottawa County farm owner is being investigated after a number of horses were found malnourished, and at least one of them dead on his property.
Last week deputies responded to complaints about the farm in the 2800 block of Cleveland Street near Coopersville and found horses underfed and standing in flood water. If the owner doesn't improve living conditions for the horses he could face animal neglect charges.
After numerous complaints, deputies visited the farm and found 18 horses, some standing in flood waters while others appear to be malnourised. One horse was dead, but a cause of death has yet to be determined.
However a concerned person in the area is suspicious. "I'm sure it wasn't from natural causes, from being in the cold and everything else," said Steve Jannereth.
"You could see bones you could see the hips and the ribs," said Lt. Lee Hoeksema of the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department.
Right now the owner, who lives in Marne, hasn't been charged but investigators say he now has to take several steps to protect the horses or he could be facing charges in the future. They include supplying adequate food and water, providing better shelter, and making regular veterinarian check-ups.
"Our animal control officer will meet with him on a regular basis to go check the property and check animals, and should we find that he's not taking of those issues, then we have the ability to resubmit charges," said Lt. Hoeksema.
Deputies say several other horses will be euthanized.
Jannereth says he has tried to approach the owner in the past, but was told to mind his own business. "He had maybe more than he could manage and that's why we are thinning the heard."
Investigators say the owner did provide some food and water on the farm. We tried to reach him at his house but family members said he wasn't interested in talking.