More than a dozen horses were discovered emaciated, neglected and even near death in Kauai.
About one week ago on Kauai, someone filed a complaint saying they saw a few horses near Lihue that "looked skinny."
By the time animal investigators got there, they said some horses were starving to death and a lot more were in trouble.
"This is the biggest one that I know of in a long time," said Kauai Humane Society Executive Director Dr. Becky Rhoades.
Rhoades said she knows The Keapana Horsemanship in Lihue. She said it has a bad track record.
"We've had complaints here for years," Rhoades said.
Rhoades said she's been responding to complaints at that location since 2001 including malnourished horses, sores on their bodies. She said this time the shear volume scared her.
"We thought we were rescuing eight horses but we ended up rescuing 16 horses," Rhoades said.
She said the horses were all malnourished, emaciated and at least one was just days away from dying.
"She admitted she could not care for them," Rhoades said.
Rhoades said they offered to help owner Lara Butler-Brady and showed up the next day with a truck load of food and offered to take care of the horses for a month for free.
"She became belligerent to the Kauai Humane Society officers and she refused to work with us," Rhoades said.
Bulter-Brady now faces 16 counts of animal cruelty. Each count is a misdemeanor carrying up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
KITV could not reach Butler-Brady by phone, but Rhoades spoke on the horses' behalf.
"They are doing a lot better, a lot better," Rhoades said.
Rhoades said they got there this weekend, but if it had been just a few days longer, they would have been dealing with some dead horses especially since many had no water and the worst-off were the young ones.
She said she hopes Butler-Brady will agree to surrender them, but said it's more likely they'll have to wait until the court hearing on July 7.