TUSCALOOSA COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - Tuscaloosa County Sheriff Ron Abernathy said several horses and one donkey were in bad condition when deputies took possession of them recently.
"I mean it's a terrible situation no matter how you look at it. It's sad," Abernathy said.
They weren't getting enough to eat, according to a vet helping determine why some were so thin and unhealthy.
Animal control officers responded to a complaint on property owned by Daryl Pate over the weekend, and found six dead horses that had not been buried.
Pate was charged with misdemeanor failure to bury a corpse.
Deputies continued their investigation and filed felony animal cruelty charges against Pate on Tuesday.
"We had to get a vet to be able to look at these animals and determine what is the cause of that," Abernathy explained.
The surviving animals are now under the care of the Tuscaloosa Sheriff's Department.
Authorities are feeding the animals, but recovery could take weeks or months.