TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Weak and starved, two horses were wasting away in front of their owner's eyes in Mescal until a UPS driver made a call and authorities stepped in.
"This was an emergency situation," Detective Robin Crehan said. "These animals could not have continued for a substantial period of time under the conditions they were living in."
A dog on the property was also starving to death. Authorities said it's rare to prosecute neglect cases like these because owners usually reach out for help or someone informs a rescue group to step in.
But then again, authorities said most cases are not this severe. Now the owner faces three counts of felony animal cruelty charges for failing to provide even the most basic necessities: Water and food.
If guilty, the owner could be forced to pay fines or serve time and will not be allowed to own animals in the near future.
"One of the keys here is the owner recognizing that they need help wit htheir animals and actively seeking help for the animals rather than continuing to neglect," Crehan said.
But since the owner failed to ask for help, the case is criminal.
Still, help came just in time. The horses are transformed under the care of Healing Hearts Animal Rescue and Refuge, and the dog has since been adopted.
Authorities want to remind the public to report any animal abuse immediately, before it's too late. The public can report cases anonymously. You can learn more about how to report cases here.