One of the dead horses found at the barn Sherri Brunzell leases.
Two veterinarians and an equine rescue director took the stand during day two of the animal cruelty trial against Colorado horse breeder Sherri Brunzell on Wednesday. Authorities seized Brunzell’s 10 horses, including Dual Peppy, and four llamas after they were found living in a make-shift morgue containing 14 rotting horse carcasses.
A veterinary pathologist testified that no cause of death could be determined from the deceased horses’ bones that were necropsied. The dead ranged in age from three to 20-years-old. The average age was estimated between 5 and 10 years-old.
Brunzell has claimed the deceased equines were old and died of colic.
Dr. Randy Parker, DVM conducted the veterinary evaluation for the sheriff’s department two days after deputies first arrived on the scene. He stated none of the horses were in immediate danger of starving or death. His main concern was seeing the 14 horses dead. He noted the poor living conditions for the animals, which included piles of manure.
Dr. Parker testified that two horses, Dual Peppy and a 12-year-old mare, were in the worst condition. Both scored a 2 out of 9 on the body condition score (BCS). A score of 1 is considered emaciated with no body fat, while a 9 is extremely fat.
Brunzell told authorities she free fed her mares hay and only fed the stallions every other day. Two of the stallions were kept in the same make-shift stall, while four mares were left to roam among their decomposing stablemates covered in lye.
The court saw before and after photos of each horse’s condition showing improvement across the board with basic care including feed, turnout, farrier work, and dentistry. The horses needed dental care and some had feet that were so long they had turned into “elf shoes”.
The equine rescue director in charge of the horses’ care testified they’ve had to keep Dual Peppy from gaining too much weight due to arthritis issues.
The trial is expected to last through the week.