DEERING, New Hampshire — Four horses were rescued Thursday morning from a barn in Deering, New Hampshire, where they were found in very poor condition.

Deering police received a complaint of animal welfare concern in late May regarding several horses that reportedly had not been outside their barn in more than a year and a half.

Since receiving the initial complaint, officials made repeated unsuccessful attempts to contact the owners.

After initial efforts and investigations, police applied for and received a search warrant to check on the welfare of the horses.

Thursday morning, the police chief and a state veterinary technician found four Arabian horses in extremely poor health and living in very poor, unkempt and unsafe conditions.

The horses were seized by the police department and turned over to the Live and Let Live Farm Equine Rescue Group, who arrived with more assistance and two horse trailers.

While the horses were being loaded, the owners formally released the horses to the care and custody of the Live and Let Live Farm.

The Deering police intend to charge the owners of the horses with animal cruelty.