The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office says they removed more than a dozen animals from a ranch in New River after receiving multiple complaints from neighbors.
According to an MCSO spokesperson, neighbors reportedly saw the animals living in “terrible conditions” without food and water at Remington Deaf Ranch. In all, 16 animals were removed including horses, donkeys and dogs after several of the animals appeared to be thin and required medical attention.
At least one mini horse had to be euthanized due to health issues, MCSO said.
A neighbor who does not want to be identified said he was among many people who called MCSO to report the complaints.
"It was frustrating, especially because no one would do anything," he explained. "Hip bones showing, rib bones showing — pretty nasty stuff."
During the investigation authorities discovered three teenage boys who appeared to be working on the property, officials said. It appeared that the boys — who are believed to be from Ethiopia — were not physically abused.
It’s unknown how the teens came to live on the ranch, MCSO said. It's believed that the ranch also functions as a youth rehabilitation facility.
The Arizona Department of Child Safety has been notified and they’re looking into the welfare of the kids.
MCSO says the ranch is not licensed by the state of Arizona. The owner, Dan Remington, is cooperating with the investigation and has not been arrested. It's believed that the owner had good intentions, MCSO said, however, he was unable to adequately care for the animals.
Remington told ABC15 that the horses belonged to his son who was trying to rehabilitate already sick animals.
The unidentified neighbor says he doesn't think that's the case.
"Horses would come here looking good and in a month they were not looking so good," he said.
More than a dozen animals remain at the ranch.