The Department of Agriculture has seized nine malnourished horses, more than 30 cats and two dogs from a property on Towns End Road in Newtown and the animals' owners are facing possible criminal charges.
The agriculture department launched an investigation after receiving complaints about poor living and health conditions for horses at 40 Towns End Road, such as inadequate food, water and shelter for the animals, according to a news release from the state agency.
The property owner, Steve Gabriel, 53, owns seven of the horses seized and Patricia Whitehead, 60, of Darien, owns two of the others.
A Danbury Superior Court judge signed off on a search and seizure warrant, so the department removed nine horses from the property, according to the agriculture department. The horses ranged from 4 to 27 years old and the department took them to its Second Chance rehabilitation facility for large animals in Niantic, according to the department.
Agricultural department officials also seized more than 30 cats and two dogs from the property and brought them to animal shelters in nearby municipalities. There was poor ventilation in the space they were living in and urine and feces contaminated the area.
State animal control officers working for the agriculture department are pursuing animal cruelty charges against Gabriel and Whitehead.