Malnourished horses feed on hay Thursday at 5480 W. County Road 900-N in Dupont. (Staff photo by Evan Shields)
Malnourished horses feed on hay Thursday at 5480 W. County Road 900-N in Dupont. (Staff photo by Evan Shields)
Jefferson County Sheriff's deputies arrested a man Thursday they say improperly disposed of several dead horses and neglected dozens more.

Jeff Hayes, 51, of Dupont, is being charged with failure to dispose of a dead animal, a Class D felony; cruelty to an animal, a Class A misdemeanor; and animals running at-large, a Class B misdemeanor.

The charges stem from two Dupont properties, 9470 Breeding Road and 5480 W. County Road 900-N. The latter property was leased by Hayes and where deputies discovered five dead horses on Wednesday in a ravine on the property, according to a report.

Five days earlier, an anonymous witness tipped off authorities that Hayes had someone move the animals to the ravine, the report said.

The initial investigation began on Breeding Road, where deputies went to investigate the theft of a horse trailer on Dec. 28. During the investigation, deputies reported that the horses in the field had no access to food.

On Wednesday, deputies responded to a call of loose horses on Breeding Road and County Road 900-N.

After deputies enclosed the loose animals, they followed up with the owners of the County Road 900-N property and conducted a search.

There, deputies found four dead horses piled up and another dead horse nearby, according to court records. The animals' remains were partly covered by the ravine's thick brush, the report said.

At that time, Hayes was not available to speak with deputies.

"You could tell that they had been moved to that location and piled there," the report said.

Deputies also found 39 horses and two donkeys in the pasture on County Road 900-N and nearly 50 horses at the Breeding Road location, none of which had access to food or water, the report said.

Deputies hauled out hay to the two fields and are looking to find homes for the remaining horses.