A 20-year-old man has been arrested after a game warden found a dying horse on a Madera County property.
During a routine patrol of the San Joaquin River on Sunday afternoon, a game warden from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife noticed a horse that appeared to be dead, according to a news release from the Madera County Sheriff’s Office.
The horse was lying on its side in tall weeds near a dirt road in the 10000 block of Avenue 14.
After a call to the sheriff’s office, the warden and a deputy drove up to the property to find the horse.
To their surprise, the horse was still alive — but in dire condition.
The frame of the horse, along with its hips, legs ribs and spine were visible, the sheriff’s office said. Flies covered its body, including its mouth and nose, and its breathing was labored.
It attempted to pick up its head upon hearing the men approach, but could not.
An animal control officer was called and advised the horse be euthanized. The cause of its deterioration was malnourishment due to neglect.
The sheriff’s office identified a resident of the home, Axel Herrera-Martinez, as the owner of the horse, and he was arrested on suspicion of felony animal cruelty.