LAFAYETTE — St. Landry Parish Animal Control launched an animal cruelty investigation Monday after the discovery of a dead horse and two emaciated horses on private property off West Landry Street, said Patricia Street, animal control director.

Horse riders attending a rodeo Sunday at the adjacent Ag Arena saw the animals and reported their condition to Street’s office late Sunday, she said.

Street added she believes the animals’ owner was squatting on the property.

“We haven’t located the owner and that part is under investigation,” she said.

Street said the dead horse had been partially burned, and a dead dog was also found on the property.

One horse was “very emaciated” and based on a body condition score of 1 to 8 with 8 being “fat,” it scored 1, Street said.

A brown and white paint horse scored a 2.5, she said.

Animal control officers also recovered an “extremely emaciated dog” and a healthy dog on the property.

The animals are now at the animal control shelter. Street said efforts are under way to reach horse rescue programs.

Interested groups may contact the shelter at (337) 948-6184.

Street urged the community to report incidents of animal neglect and cruelty as soon as they see it.

“They can always call this in anonymously to report any cruelty to animals,” she said.