Riverview horse rescue takes in 15 malnourished horses

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Volunteers tending to 15 horses at RVR Rescue say the animals are easily scared.

It's no wonder, considering the nightmare they were living not long before.

"The ASPCA had been called in to a case in Lake Butler, Florida, where the Union County sheriff asked for their assistance in handling 51 horses that were being pulled off a property due to neglect," said Kelly Ford with RVR, in Riverview.

Many of them were malnourished and dehydration was a concern. Others had damaged hooves and matted coats.

Every two hours the horses are fed what is called half a flake of alfalfa hay. It's a part of the refeeding process that's going on with Ford and her team.

"We're giving them just a little bit to eat, just a little at a time, every two hours," Ford said. "Then you'll see in the back of the stall there's fresh water, plenty to drink."

After they were brought in Monday night, Ford says their demeanor started to change.

"I guess they could just sense that they were in a safe place," she said. "We have a lot of horses around them. They are much calmer today, they are allowing us to interact with them. They're much more relaxed today, and that's really great to see."

It's the first step toward the ultimate goal of finding a permanent and safe place for these horses to live.

"Once these horses reach health, we're going to have them available for adoption and hopefully, they'll find great homes. That's what we're looking forward to. That's our biggest hope here," she said.

The Union County Sheriff's Office says detectives are still investigating the location where the horses were found. At this time, no charges have been brought against the property owner.