MCSO animal unit arrests suspect after emaciated horses found

RIO VERDE, AZ - The Maricopa County Sheriff's Animal Crimes Unit was called to investigate a horse boarding facility Thursday night, leading them to find seven emaciated horses.

Officials found the horses at a boarding facility in the Rio Verde area near North 144th Street.

The investigation showed that seven horses were between 300 and 400 pounds underweight and "severely malnourished," according to a sheriff's news release.

Six of the horses were taken into custody for treatment, but one horse was in such poor condition that it had to be euthanized.

Michelle Salazar, the owner of the horses, was unable to be contacted last Thursday, as she faced charges of animal cruelty, authorities said.

Salazar was arrested and booked into jail on July 3 on cruelty and neglect charges.

Salazar was previously questioned after the Animal Crimes Unit was called out to the property. She was cooperative but reportedly has become less cooperative in recent months.

All of the horses on the property were scored on a veterinary scale from one to nine, one being the worst condition.

According to the news release, the seven horses were scored at two or worse, meaning that they needed immediate care.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio says that his office will continue to crack down on animal cruelty cases and he takes these offenses very seriously.

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