BLACK FOREST, Colo. — When her dog got loose and ran in a barn near her residence in Black Fores, Diana Ragula never expected to find what she did.
When she walked into the barn, she saw it littered with bones and tarps covering rotting horse bodies, according to KRDO.
In all, there were over a dozen horse carcasses found in the barn, and eight other horses that were still alive but severely malnourished.
Among the surviving horses was a renowned stallion known as Dual Peppy, a runner-up in a world championship competition whose offspring are highly coveted. The proud stallion was skinny — down to skin and bones, with his ribs clearly visible.
When viewing photos of the horses found in the barn, horse trainer Carrie Terroux-Barrett told KRDO she recognized Dual Peppy almost instantly.
“When you look at a horse like this, you really are looking at a fairly well known horse in the industry,” Terroux-Barrett said. “It’s been eye-opening … to see a horse of this caliber in this particular situation.”
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating the case, with deputies telling KRDO the office’s mounted unit is equipped to handle this situation. The unit has two deputies who frequently respond to animal abuse calls.
Dual Peppy’s former owner, Pete Bowling, a well-known horse breeder based in California, is also stepping in, saying he plans on doing whatever he can to nurse Dual Peppy back to health.
“I put him in this hell,” Bowling told KRDO. “I am responsible for selling him to those people. I owe him; I told these people I will take him and give him a home for the rest of his life and take care of him like he deserves to be taken care of.”
A Facebook group called Justice for Dual Peppy has also sprung up in the wake of the stallion’s discovery. As of Monday morning, the group had over 10,800 followers.
Messages left with the horses’ current owners have not yet been returned.