RAMONA, Calif. - Ten horses seized in Ramona are in the care of San Diego County Department of Animal Services Friday and an investigation is underway into the death of another of the owner's horses.
A group of horses was spotted running loose on state Route 78 on Monday and personnel from the California Highway Patrol and Cal Fire returned them to their owner's property in Ramona, a San Diego County official said.
Animal services personnel began monitoring the herd of about 30 horses on the property, noting that they lacked food and water.
Fire personnel provided the animals with water and neighbors gave feed, but the conditions led Animal Services officials to post a notice stating the horses were subject to seizure, a county official said.
Animal Services personnel inspected the property again late Thursday and seized all the animals there.
"Prompt action was necessary to ensure the health and welfare of those horses," Department of Animal Services Director Dawn Danielson said.
"We are continuing our efforts to monitor the remaining animals to make sure they are receiving the proper care but because of the potential of criminal charges, we are unable to provide additional details of the investigation."
Following the seizure, the owner, whose name was not released, confirmed that another of her horses recently died, and the Department of Animal Services began an investigation into the circumstances of that animal's death, the county reported.
The Department of Animal Services shelter in Bonita took in seven mares and two foals seized from the property. A stallion was taken to a shelter in Carlsbad. County officials said the horses' hooves needed to be trimmed, but they appeared to need only minor care.
A veterinarian examined the horses upon arrival at the shelters, but the results are pending. A San Diego County official said that initially the horses didn’t appear to be in life-threatening condition. They will remain under care of the Department of Animal Service care until further notice, the official said.