JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A woman in St. Johns County said she was horrified when she saw her neighbors horse stable.
"It smells like rotting. Just filth. They're in filth," said Chrissy Haislip.
Haislip knew she had to do something.
For six months, she watched the health of her neighbor's horses deteriorate.
"I pulled in and there were two dead horses. And there were three live ones in with them," she said.
Animal control doesn't handle horses in St. John's County, so it's up to the Sheriff's Office to investigate.
When Haislip called the Sheriff's Office out to check on the situation, they filed a report, but she doesn't think it's enough.
"I think not even having someone to call to help. It makes you feel very helpless," she said.
The owner of the horses said they were suffering from a virus, and the surviving horses are fine.
But the Sheriff's office said it's an open investigation.
Susan Barnes rescues horses in Baker County and says she's not surprised.
"It can be very difficult. We had a few where you could almost see their organs, and they were just so thin. And a lot of those we lose," said Barnes.
In the past two weeks, she's had 23 calls to her nonprofit, Gallop, to come rescue mistreated or underfed horses.
"Horses seem like they're these big strong animals, and they are, but heath wise, they're like crystal. They can get sick at the drop of a hat, and drop in a heartbeat," said Barnes.
She said budget cuts in local police departments have only made the problem worse, because they don't have the resources to help.
"They're really reluctant to prosecute because it requires so many man hours and they're hoping that the owners can come around and do what needs to be done for the horse," she said.
Barnes has taken in 50 horses during the two years she's been running Gallop, but it's expensive, and she can't save them all.
Haislip said every little bit helps.
"There's nothing worse than seeing an animal starve to death. That's my worst nightmare," said Haislip.
St. Johns County Sheriffs took an incident report at her neighbors farm, but said they found no malice on the part of her neighbor.
First Coast News