A Canton resident found four stray horses wandering near her home and animal control officers are now investigating whether the owner abandoned them.
The horses are now recovering at the Cherokee County Animal Shelter.
"It's very troubling," said Shelter Director Susan Garcia. "Why wouldn't you take responsibility for what you had? Somebody would have taken them in. You could've gotten help somewhere if you'd just taken the steps to do it."
The horses arrived thin and in need of food and care. They have burns from their halters and their hooves need to be trimmed.
Investigators tracked down the horses' owner, Heath Byess, who told them he had sold the animals and had no idea how they ended up abandoned.
Authorities said they do not believe Byess' story.
"He couldn't provide us a full name, address, telephone number or anything so we were unable to track that person down," said Sgt. Dwayne Casteel of the Cherokee County Marshal's Office.
Last year, Byess was charged with animal cruelty for allegedly abusing two other horses who were found starving at his home.
"We're also looking to make sure there's no further horses or anything on his property so we're definitely keeping a closer eye on him," said Casteel.
In the meantime, the horses are putting on weight and will soon be ready for adoption.
"They come to the fence," said Garcia. "They can be hand fed. They love to be petted and brushed. They really started to make a turn around in just two weeks."
Watch the full story today at 5 p.m. on CBS Atlanta News.
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