Animal Humane Society agent Kieth Streff, along with Fillmore County sheriff's deputies and another agency, removed 55 horses, ponies and donkeys from a farm property in Fillmore County Thursday.

Following a complaint about the property, an investigation by the Fillmore County Sheriff's Office and agent  Streff found animals suffering from untreated wounds, severe emaciation and other health issues, said Captain John DeGeorge of the Fillmore County Sheriff's Office. Numerous carcasses in various states of decomposition were also found on the property, he reported Friday morning.

The work in the case is involving multiple agencies from the area. A dozen horses considered to be in the most acute condition were transported from the farm property to the University of Minnesota Large Animal Hospital in St. Paul for forensic examination. The results of the exams will be reviewed by the county prosecutor to determine what, if any, criminal charges will be issued.

As of Friday morning, four of the animals had been euthanized due to severe health complications. One has been deemed well enough for placement. The health condition of the remaining horses, which were transported to the Fillmore County Fairgrounds in Preston, is still being determined.

The Animal Humane Society has recruited the Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue Foundation to coordinate efforts with additional horse rescue organizations to treat, care for and place the animals. The objective is to stabilize and improve the health of the animals so they can be safely transported to new owners.

"In addition to the severity of the case, this was one of the largest and more complex operations involving horses I've seen, requiring a major effort to remove and relocate the animals," Streff said.

The case is still an active investigation.