A concerned call about the welfare of someone's pet pigeons led to a disturbing discovery in a Maryland stable: three horses in such a severe state of neglect that a local rescue group was absolutely horrified. "Of the over 2,170 horses DEFHR has rescued in its 26-year history, these are the worst, most extreme cases of hoof neglect the organization has ever seen," Days End Farm Horse Rescue says in a press release. The horses were found last week after a Good Samaritan alerted the Humane Society of Washington County, and the neglect was evident immediately, WUSA 9 reports. The gaunt animals, who officials believe hadn't received proper medical care in at least 15 years, "could barely move."
Their tangled hooves were more than 3 feet long—the group put a picture up on its Facebook page—while their stall was filled with piles of manure reaching as high as 4 feet. One of the horses had to be euthanized on the spot, while the two others had to be sedated so their hooves could be trimmed to allow them to be transported to DEFHR. As officials continue to investigate the situation to see if animal cruelty charges will be brought, the horses' condition is reported as "guarded," per the station. They're due for a further hoof trim and shaping and X-rays, and the organization is determined to do whatever it can to nurse the horses back to health, despite costs that could reach close to $2,400 a month per horse. (Last year, hundreds of dying snakes were found in a "house of horrors.")