A Colorado woman is raising money to offer as a reward for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for leaving an emaciated horse inside a wrecked trailer on a rural dirt road in Weld County.
Michelle Daughenbaugh told KDVR News recently that she and her sister were traveling east on Interstate 76 on June 2 when she spotted the trailer.
“I told my sister, stop. There’s still a horse in there,” she said.
The two made their way to the flipped, abandoned trailer to try to help the trapped horse.
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“It was probably one of the worst things I ever walked up on,” Daughenbaugh told KMGH News.
But, she said, luckily the horse was not badly injured, just skinny and sickly looking.
“I slipped one of the ropes off her neck, made a halter out of it and she stepped right out of the horse trailer, she stepped out like a champ,” Daughenbaugh explained to KMGH.
She and her sister called the Weld County Sheriff’s Office, but a woman claiming to be the horse’s owner arrived before deputies did.
Daughenbaugh told KMGH the woman said someone had taken the horse off of her brother’s property where the animal was being kept. She said she had no idea why someone would take her horse and then leave it abandoned on the side of the road.
Daughenbaugh said she thinks there might be more to the story and told KDVR that the woman changed her story a few times after arriving at the wreck.
She said the woman told her she adopted the horse a year ago, but Daughenbaugh wants to know why, if that’s the case, the horse still appeared to be about 500 pounds underweight.
The owner was not named in either news story. But her brother, Carlos Rodriguez, who owns the property where the horse is being kept, did speak to KMGH.
He said he wasn’t sure why the horse was so thin.
“We don’t know if she had worms, or something was wrong with her,” he said.
Rodriguez said he didn’t know if his sister had ever taken the animal to a veterinarian.
The Weld County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the case, but said there were no identifying markings on the trailer to trace it back to an owner.
In the meantime Daughenbaugh has set up a GoFundMe page and already raised $5,000 to offer as a reward for information that can identify the trailer’s owner.
She told KMGH she would even try to help find the horse a new owner.
“I have plenty of people who are willing to give her a good home, who will get vet care to her that she needs, and make sure she’s taken care of,” she said.
Animal control officials said the horse was returned to its current owner but told KDVR they plan to check in on the well-being of the animal. The horse is reportedly on the mend.