Woman arrested after MCSO takes emaciated horses

Posted at 12:40 PM, Feb 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-18 19:20:01-05

A Litchfield Park woman who agreed to surrender her emaciated horses to Maricopa County Sheriff's Office was arrested Wednesday morning on felony charges of animal cruelty.

Amber Dahl, 30, reportedly purchased two horses, a 15-year-old thoroughbred cross and an 8-year-old thoroughbred, from Craigslist in August.

MCSO received a call about the horses' condition in early February after someone reported their poor condition to officials.

Deputies found Dahl at the home, who took responsibility for them. She said she was having trouble keeping weight on the horses and later told deputies that she sometimes had to feed them less in order to get through until the next paycheck.

Dahl reportedly attempted to give the horses back or find a buyer to take care of them, but with no luck, she said she would "figure it out," according to documents.

After the horses were surrendered, they were found to be between 200 and 250 pounds underweight. The older horse was ranked as a .5 on a scale to 9 that determines health. According to MCSO, the scale shows a rating of 1 as being emaciated and 9 being obese. The second horse scored a 1.5.

Deputies caring for the horses say they were in "severe" condition, lethargic and injured. The older horse had to be euthanized after falling. She was not able to get back up or hold her head up.

The second horse has since gained 18 pounds and is expected to make a slow recovery.

According to documents, the condition of the horses was consistent with failure to provide the proper amount of food.