PUEBLO, Colo. (CBS4)– More than a dozen donkeys left for dead have been rescued and their former owner is facing charges.

Nearly 20 donkeys were left abandoned on National Forest Service land by the owner in Otero County east of Pueblo. They were left without food and water.

“They’re good pets if you treat them right and gain their trust,” said Colorado Humane Society spokeswoman Katrina Schou.

They have been transported to the Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center in Franktown.

“Some of them need to put on a little more weight. They were a bit thin for the most part their physical condition had not gone downhill yet,” said Schou.

The owner of the donkeys has not yet been identified. He is facing multiple charges including animal abandonment and multiple counts of trespassing on National Forest land.

Investigators don’t believe this was an accident.

“The owner was having some difficulty in the county he lived in and abandoned these animals intentionally on forest land,” said Schou.

They were left in dire situation of dying of dehydration. While their physical condition didn’t deteriorate, if they had not been provided help by the Forest Service and the sheriff’s office they would have died a slow death.”

Instead of death the donkeys are actually creating new life. Days after being rescued from the forest a new donkey, Kenny, was born.

“Kenny was born when we rested overnight from bringing the animals back from Otero County to the Equine Center and he’s a spectacular fun little creature to have around,” said Schou.

The donkeys will be held for a minimum of 14 days at the Equine Center to make sure they are physically ready to leave constant supervision. After that time they will likely be available for adoption.

LINK: ddfl.org