Twenty horses are receiving rehabilitative care after they were surrendered to animal welfare authorities in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

Les Porter, director of the Orangeburg County Animal Control, said the horses’ owner contacted authorities on Jan. 3 because she could not care for the animals. Upon arrival, animal control personnel began investigating the condition of 23 horses on the premises; one horse died immediately, Porter said.

“I don’t know if it was the excitement of the truck coming onto the property or what, but the horse was standing when we got there and it was down and dead when we got to it,” he said.

In the following days, animal control personnel and a veterinarian evaluated the remaining horses. After a veterinary examination two other horses were humanely euthanized, Porter said.

“One horse had a malignant tumor near its eye that had gone to the bone,” Porter said. “The other had foundered and just could not get up.”

All of remaining horse were malnourished and in need of veterinary treatment, he said. Porter said the horses’ owner was an elderly woman who had acquired them in hopes of improving their health and rehoming them.

“Her heart was good, but she didn’t have the money to take care of them,” Porter said. “Also, though she did have the acreage to accommodate them, the property was not suitable for horses.”

The woman voluntarily surrendered the animals. No charges have been filed in connection with the case, Porter said.

“We just didn’t feel as though it was in anyone’s interes