BROOKLYN (WKOW) -- Dane County Sheriff's deputies were called to property along County Highway D in Brooklyn Thursday night, because of a dispute over the ownership of four horses.
A small group loaded the horses onto a trailer and took them because, as they told officers, they believed the animals' lives were in danger.
"I've been around horses professionally for 40 years and I've never personally seen horses in such a state," said Desiree DeVries, who trains saddle-bred show horses in Verona.
DeVries was among the group who took the four horses from the Brooklyn farm, and claims one of them, called Patty, is hers. She says she let Mary Loeffelholz have the horse for an indefinite amount of time.
"I thought they were a good family," said DeVries. "There were a number of children in the family who could enjoy the horse. It was a very sweet-natured horse. It loved kids."
DeVries says she learned this week that Patty and the other horses Loeffelholz keeps on the property in Brooklyn were not being treated at standards that DeVries feels are appropriate.
Deputies persuaded the group who took the horses to return to the Brooklyn property. And Madison-Dane County Animal Services tells us after a veterinarian ruled the horses were not in life-threatening condition, three of the four horses were left on the Brooklyn farm.
DeVries protested and her horse will remain in custody of Dane County Humane Society, until the issue of ownership is settled.
Public Health Madison & Dane County told 27 News earlier Thursday that there have received two recent complaints that Loeffelholz's horses are not being fed and watered regularly.
The department's Environmental Services director, Douglas Voegeli, says the county has been working with Loeffelholz since a previous complaint about neglect in 2008.
An abatement order was issued in 2008, and Voegeli says Loeffelholz met the requirements of that order even after it expired in 2001. But he adds they started to notice the condition of the animals deteriorating again this March and April.
"Things will get better for a while, then regress," Voegeli said. "Which makes it difficult in the long run to enforce these cases."
Patrick Comfert, with Madison-Dane County Animal Services, told 27 News that over the past 10 days Loeffelholz had again started meeting the minimum requirements of state regulations
Public health officials plan to talk about the condition of the horses Monday and decide whether to issue another abatement order.
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