By Spencer Wilson

GRANBY, Colo. (CBS4)– More than a week ago, the Grand County Sheriff’s Office removed 144 horses from the Snow Mountain Stables, after complaints the horses were underfed and poorly cared for.

(credit: Grand County Sheriff’s Office)

Michael Brooks, a mixed animal vet in Granby Colorado said that’s not the case. He’s worked with those horses in the past and said he went and looked at them at the Harmony Equine Center, run by the Dumb Friends League after they were taken.

“My assessment at that time is that there is no reason these horses should have been confiscated based on body condition.”

Brooks admitted there were a few horses he described as “older and thinner” but said a vast majority of them were in good shape, some even “a bit fat.”

The Grand County Sheriff told CBS4 they can’t comment more than what was sent in the press release about the incident but added they did not make this decision on a whim. Sheriff Brett Schroetlin said it would be freeing to show proof of their reasoning for taking the horses but cannot until the case has gone through the judicial system, as is standard practice.

“…To maintain the integrity of that investigation, we need to make sure that things are done correctly in accordance with standard procedure and accordance with the law and that also is very important as this case moves forward,” Schroetlin explained.

(credit: Grand County Sheriff’s Office)

The Dumb Friends League sent Mountain Newsroom Reporter Spencer Wilson this statement: “The Dumb Friends League had three veterinarians that evaluated and treated the horses last week; we have continued to monitor their health and treat them as necessary.”

Dr. Brooks was allowed to assess the horses (as provided under statute) but did not provide any care or treatment for them.

Our job is to make sure the horses get proper veterinary care and nutrition while the legal process unfolds. ”

Still, Brooks said this seizure was not motivated out of concern for the horses, but an ulterior motive altogether.

“So many things went wrong with this procedurally, with this confiscation, that I literally haven’t slept all week and I can’t hardly eat, ” Brooks said, exasperated.

“I think there is an ulterior motive of some of the previous employees.”

Brooks also took issue with the horses being removed from the property but then being deemed fit to be returned. He said 53 horses taken by law enforcement were checked out and confirmed to be in fine shape, although the rest have not been returned yet.

The Grand County Sheriff’s Office acknowledged to Wilson that was the case, horses were returned to the owner that were taken, but were deemed ok.

“Little frustrated to hear in order for him to get those 53 horses out of the Harmony Equine Center, it cost him over $5,000 boarding care,” Brooks said.

The owner of the horses declined to comment in this story but told Wilson he was retaining a lawyer to move forward with the case.

Spencer Wilson