But Jay Williams - who has had horses for 15 years - told ABC11 that's not what happened and his animals weren't as bad off as they looked.
"I think they look pretty good myself right now, myself," said Williams.
Animal Control Director Dr. John Lauby disagreed. He said the horses were malnourished.
Lauby said he has pictures that show at least one of the Williams' horses and three border collies were nearly starved to death. Lauby said the emaciated mare had to be euthanized and the dogs were seized and put in foster care to recover.
"They are very, very much underweight," said Lauby.
Williams had no excuse for the condition of his animals. He said only the mare that was euthanized had problems.
"We just had the mare to get down, and she had a baby on her and it pulled her down too much," said Williams. "The Humane Society saw her lying in the field, and I guess I should have pulled the baby off of her earlier."
Animal control officers said there is no excuse for the situation.
"He is absolutely going to face some cruelty charges," said Lauby. "You can't starve an animal to death and not face some sort of charges."
A friend of Williams has agreed to take one of the horses and nurse it back to health.
For now, animal control officials said Williams can keep the horses in his pasture if he feeds and takes care of them. An animal control investigator will make daily checks on the animals to make sure they are okay.