Pierce County Animal Control officers seized 39 horses at a Graham farm in the 30800 block of Meridian East Wednesday morning.
"Many of the horses appeared to have been kept in conditions with no sunlight or ventilation and are very scared," Julie Anderson, Pierce County Auditor, said.
"We've noted animals that have injuries, that have been needing medical attention care for some time. It looks like we have some tumors that are distending out of anuses, we've got very traumatic foot care and then facial wounds as well," she added.
Animal Control was alerted by another law enforcement agency about the health and welfare of the horses.
Officers found the horses living in "deplorable conditions." A number of the horses had medical issues, others were very thin and some had various injuries. Most of the horses were in barns with stalls that had not been cleaned of feces and some of the barns had no lighting or ventilation.
The horses are being removed and taken to an undisclosed location for veterinary care and to be held as evidence, Pierce County officals said.
Various agencies are assiting with the transportation of the horses and one ton of feed has been delivered to assist in feeding the animals.
"This is the largest seizure of horses that Pierce County Animal Control has ever undertaken," Anderson, said. "Horses are expensive animals to seize and provide care for."
"We were able to get everything put together very quickly to have the animals removed and receive the proper care they need," Brian Boman, Pierce County Animal Control supervisor, said.
There is an ongoing investigation and the animal owners could face charges of second-degree animal cruelty, which is a gross misdemeanor in the state of Washington.