A Colorado judge has ruled that the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office lacked probable cause to seize more than five dozen horses from their owner earlier this year.

In January, Sheriff’s Department personnel seized total of 63 allegedly maltreated horses from a property near Penrose, Colorado. The animal’s owner Penny Gingerich was later charged with 64 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. She pleaded not guilty to those charges.

While that case was pending, Gingerich’s attorney James Cook filed a motion requesting that the horses be returned to Gingerich on grounds that there was no probable cause to seize all the animals.

In a written opinion issued Feb. 21, Fremont County Judge Norm Cooling ruled that the Sheriff’s Department lacked probable cause to seize all the horses, said Sergeant Megan Richards, Fremont County Sheriff’s Office public information officer.

“The judge reviewed the initial warrant and there was a difference of opinion (between the judges),” Richards said.

As a result, 24 horses were ordered to be returned to Gingerich, Richards said. The other 39 animals—including seven Gingerich had taken to a sale barn, 13 that were listed as allegedly in poor health, and 19 taken from a pasture where they allegedly had no water access for an extended period of time—were ordered to remain impounded, Richards said.

Cook was unavailable for comment.

A trial on the animal cruelty charges against Gingerich is slated for May 11, Richards said.