A Valley man was arrested after two horses were found starving and malnourished on his property, Maricopa County sheriff's deputies said.
Jesse Noriega, 33, was booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail Wednesday on charges of felony cruelty to animals.
Sheriff's detectives received a tip on June 8 about two severely underweight and neglected horses and a monthlong investigation led sheriff's detectives to Noriega's property in the 6000 block of west Broadway.
Animal Crimes detectives found two horses, a full-grown mare and its colt, both extremely thin and malnourished. Detectives also found that the mare's left front foot was bent at a 45-degree angle, indicating a broken ankle.
A veterinarian on scene determined that the mare needed to be euthanized in order to alleviate any further suffering, MCSO said.
During an interview with sheriff's detectives, Noriega indicated that he owned the mare for two years. He also admitted that he was the sole person responsible for the care of the horses, claiming full responsibility for their condition, deputies said.
Noriega turned the colt over to the sheriff's MASH Unit. The horse is now being cared for by sheriff's inmates at the MASH II Unit adjacent to Towers Jail.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio said over the past two weeks, his detectives have seized nine horses - four of them had to be euthanized. Two people have been arrested and charged with cruelty to animals.
Arpaio's MASH Unit is currently housing 14 horses, including two that are currently eligible for adoption. The colt from the latest case is up for adoption.
Anyone interested in adopting the animal is asked to call the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office at 602-290-0930 or 602-526-4594.
Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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