SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY (CBS13) – It’s a horrifying case of animal abuse after a mutilated horse is found dumped on private property; and this isn’t the first time this has happened.

“I just couldn’t stop crying,” said Kate Montgomery.

Montgomery runs an animal rescue and has seen too many cases of animal abuse, but none more horrific than what she witnessed Wednesday.

“This horse has been systematically starved to death. It takes a while for a horse to get down to that kind of body weight,” she said.

The horse was dumped on private property near Atkins Road east of Lockeford outside of Lodi. Its legs were hog-tied to a fence. Its lips were removed in what appears to be an attempt to hide from the law.

“She had a racing tattoo on her lip, which would have identified her, which might have brought the owner to light,” said Montgomery.

This isn’t the first horse to be mutilated and dumped. In early November, another horse was found in the same spot.

“Same rope, same tie, same matter of dump, I don’t see someone copycat killing horses,” said Montgomery.

The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department says it’s not illegal to kill your own horse, but it is illegal to abuse a horse and dump it on public or private property.

Horses are often dumped because of the high cost of disposing of the animal. The sheriff’s department has opened an investigation, and Montgomery thinks she can be of help.

“We’ve had information that has been given to us, so we’re just going to let the lead investigator work those leads,” said Montgomery.

Montgomery says a third horse was found several miles away, and believes the same owner dumped that horse as well.

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