NEW RIVER, Ariz. - The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office has seized three malnourished horses from a woman who said she was relying on the homeless to take care of the animals.

MCSO specified in a release Monday that the woman, who they did not name, has not been arrested in the case. She could face three counts of animal cruelty if they do arrest her.

Detectives discovered the horses last Wednesday after receiving a report of a skinny horse on property east of Interstate 17 on North New River Road.

The woman admitted she knew the horses were sick and underweight, according to the release, but she said they hadn't received medical care in at least a year and a half.

She said she had relied on "hobos" and "transients" to care for the animals, but they did not.

An unnamed veterinarian performed a medical assessment and said the animals were quite unwell.

"All the bone structure is easily noticeable and the tail, head and hook bones are prominently projecting with the ribs," the veterinarian said in the release.

The woman refused to sign over the horses so MCSO seized them through a search warrant. They have since been turned over to Durango Equine Veterinary Clinic, according to the sheriff's office.