The five dead horses found on an Okanogan County woman's rural property likely starved to death and the emaciated surviving horse was eating snow for water, according to court documents.
Jennyfer L. Taylor, 40, was arrested last week on suspicion of five counts of first-degree animal cruelty.
Taylor's neighbors reported the animal abuse Jan. 18, documents say. They told a deputy at least five horses died and there was one left, which they referred to as "Ghost," at Taylor's property, 27 Bench Road, outside Oroville. The horse had no water or food, according to one of the neighbors.
Because of difficulty accessing the land, deputies arrived at Taylor's property Jan. 20 on an ATV, court records say. Taylor was not home.
Deputies found three stables, each with a dead horse inside. One of the dead horses was buried under snow because the makeshift stable's roof collapsed, documents say.
They discovered another dead horse near the horse's pen. Dogs on the property as well as coyotes were eating the dead horses, the neighbor said.
Deputies said they did not see water or food for "Ghost" other than a small square of alfalfa, according to documents. They said Ghost was eating snow for water.
The neighbor told the sheriff's office Taylor was rarely on the property. A deputy wrote that limited tracks in the snow leading to the property could corroborate the statement.
A deputy called Taylor who became "defensive and angry" when she learned the sheriff's office and her neighbor accessed her property, documents say. The deputy wrote Taylor's attitude changed and she asked what would happen next when the deputy told her they were investigating allegations of animal abuse and cruelty.
During a search of the property Jan. 22, authorities again found no water or food on the property. They found five dead horses instead of the initial four dead that were reported. The last stall with the collapsed roof had two dead horses instead of one.
The veterinarian determined the dead horses were emaciated and likely starved to death, documents say. The living horse was also emaciated.
Documents indicate Taylor denied intentionally hurting her horses and claimed she was feeding them.
N.O. Paws Left Behind Rescue, an animal shelter in Oroville, took the surviving horse into its facility, according to a sheriff's office's Facebook post.
Taylor is scheduled for an arraignment Feb. 6.