With many of our Animal Rescue Team members still in Killeen, Texas caring for the nearly 200 cats we rescued there less than two weeks ago in an alleged neglect case, other HSUS responders went to another property in Texas on Thursday rescuing approximately 150 equines—including horses, mini-horses and donkeys—in an alleged large-scale cruelty case.

Sinking into inches of thick mud and grime, amidst the foul smell of excessive animal waste, our Animal Rescue Team members accompanied law enforcement officials who entered the 45-acre property in Camp County, Texas in the early morning Thursday. Since then, our team has been assisting the Camp County Sheriff’s Office and the Safe Haven Equine Rescue and Retirement Home, helping to remove and care for the horses.

The majority of the animals appeared severely underweight, with ribs and hip bones protruding sharply, and many were found together in overcrowded pens, deprived of their most basic needs. One responder commented that several looked like “walking skeletons.” Our team and partners worked in the hot Texas sun and slippery pens of mud and filth to safely load the horses onto transport vehicles and launch them on the next stage in their journey to a better life.

The animals were transported to a safe, secure location. There, the horses are receiving veterinary care and assessment. Many of the horses appear to have been denied proper nourishment, and they will have a long road to recovery ahead.

We are thankful to Camp County Sheriff’s Office for answering the call to help these gentle creatures, but most of all, we are thankful that these horses will now be able to rest in a clean, dry place with proper hay and nourishment.

I’m pleased to relate that, in the midst of a difficult and disturbing situation, our colleagues were buoyed by one truly beautiful sign of hope. Among the horses on site, responders noticed a mother with a baby estimated to be only a few days old. While both were extremely thin and looked to be in poor condition, the bond and the love between them was clear. That bond, and that love, will get a chance to flourish in a new and wonderful way now.

The Humane Society of the United States thanks the Alex and Elisabeth Lewyt Charitable Trust for offering to match a portion of donations received from other contributors to support the care and supplies needed for the rescued animals. If you’d like to donate, we’d be grateful. We’ve got our hands full in Texas just now, but we’re already looking forward to the next rescue, and we’ll be able to do even more for animals with your support.