The goats were dying or already dead. They had no access to water, no food. The ones that survived ate the fur off each other or goats that died in front of them.
Two nearby horses were locked in a small pen, slowly dying. Their skin looked like canvas stretched over bone. One died of organ failure. The other survived by eating hay in the back of a pickup on the abandoned Weld County farm.
That was the scene authorities found on a scorching hot day in late August. More than a month later the founder of Denkai Animal Sanctuary, which assisted the Weld County Sherriff's Department in recovering the animals, is still haunted by what she saw.
"I'm used to seeing stuff but this was really bad," Floss Blackburn said this week. "It made me angry for a couple of weeks. They were dying in front of us. It was awful."
The surviving animals - 13 goats and one horse - were housed at Denkai's facility in Grover. Their recovery required 24/7 care for the first week. They had to be reintroduced to food and water a little at a time. Now, they have all recovered and are available for adoption or fostering.
"They're all doing well now," Blackburn said. "We've found homes for four goats and maybe the horse. "The goats would make wonderful pets... or lawn mowers."
Meanwhile, there is a federal warrant out for the missing woman who owned the animals. More details were not available.
Blackburn had some advice for people thinking about getting into farming.
"Know what you're getting into," she said. "Do research first."
Breeds: LaMancha, Alpine, Nubian
Tested negative for CAE
Vaccinated for CD&T
Wormed and de-loused, parasites are gone.
9-year-old quarterhorse mare
Still gaining weight and doing exceptionally well, Denkai says.
Sanctuary workers believe that she has had a lot of training and will be rideable again. Stands approx 15.1 hh.
To view a complete photo album of the before and after recovery of this group of animals: www.denkaisanctuary.org.
If you can help any of these animals, contact that website or call 970-895-2337. Financial contributions are also needed.
Thanks for reading. If you would like to be notified about upcoming stories, click on the "subscribe" link above this article. It's free!