(Photo courtesy of Harmony Equine Center. These are not the horses from Hartsel in question)

The Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center and the Park County Sheriff’s Office recently combined efforts to round up 57 badly neglected horses from various locations around Hartsel. Several horses were found dead, according to Park County Sheriff Tom McGraw.

The Colorado Humane Society and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals also assisted in the rescue effort. The Dumb Friends League, as reported in a Feb. 26 story by, stated that the horses were severely malnourished and some were diseased. At least four of the rescued animals were pregnant mares. According to The Dumb Friends Society, immediate attention was required as a means of saving the animals.

The designated caretaker of the horses, Mark Walker, has been charged with eight counts of cruelty to animals. Those are considered misdemeanor charges because they are first-time offenses.

Only after the second offense do those same charges escalate to felonies, according to McGraw. The eight-count summons against Walker was issued Feb. 25.

The majority of the rescued horses are currently in the care of The Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center in Franktown, a private rehabilitation and adoption facility for abused and neglected horses, ponies, donkeys and mules that have been removed from their owners by law enforcement authorities. The facility has assisted in the rehabilitation of more than 1,500 horses since 2012.

The process of rehabilitation, care and feeding for the neglected horses is expected to be both lengthy and costly.

The Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center claims that more than $40,000 will be spent nursing the emaciated animals back to health, and that the process will require months of physical rehabilitation and professional care.

Those expenses are in addition to the time and resources devoted to rounding up and transporting the horses, which required numerous trips to various locations and more than a week to complete.

Anyone wishing to assist in the care of these horses can visit, or can call 303-751-5772.

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