A woman was detained in Texas last week after landscapers allegedly discovered dozens of deceased animals on her ranch and notified authorities. Rachel Ann Sword, 22 years old, was apprehended on Friday and charged with one count of cruelty to a non-livestock animal and one count of cruelty to livestock animals involving physical assault. According to Law&Crime, police discovered the corpses of 12 horses and 24 canines on her property. The investigation into Ms. Sword’s property was initiated by a “citizen complaint” from the landscapers, according to a spokesperson for the Collin County Sheriff’s Office. According to reports, they were working on the property when they discovered the dead horses.
“The entire property smelled of decay. There are cages everywhere. Alston Mays, one of the landscapers, informed local radio station KTXS that there were dead animals all over the property. He stated that “skeletons were everywhere.” On 1 August, Animal Services of Collin County and the sheriff’s department executed a search warrant at the property. The warrant authorized the removal of “all living animals” from the property of Ms. Sword, located approximately 50 miles northeast of Dallas.
“During the execution of the warrant, investigators seized two dogs, two horses, one cow, one lizard, and one snake, which were turned over to Animal Services personnel for their care and control,” the CCSO said in a statement. In and around a number of buildings on this property, decomposition-advanced remains of twelve horses and twenty-four canines were discovered by sheriff’s investigators.
When deputies arrived at the property, they began to detect the odor of decay, they said. Upon further investigation, a deceased dog was discovered in an enclosure near a residence on the property. They observed that there was no sustenance or water near the cage. They eventually discovered 23 additional deceased canines in various stages of decomposition on the property, many of which were reportedly kept in cages or exposed to the sun in pens.
The Discovery of Horse remains
In their reports, deputies also mentioned the discovery of equine remains, some of which were “skeletal.” “The decay on the horses ranged from completely skeletonized to partially skeletonized with skin and fur, generally indicating that the deaths were not recent,” the affidavit states. According to KDFW, deputies investigating the landscapers’ assertions discovered that Ms. Sword’s property is actually owned by her elderly grandparents.
According to a probable cause affidavit obtained by the broadcaster, the grandparents had mobility concerns and believed Ms. Sword was providing for the ranch’s animals. Ms. Sword told the deputies that her husband, who she claimed was the animal’s owner, had perished three weeks earlier, and she acknowledged that she was unable to care for the numerous animals. However, KDFW discovered that the property had received at least 16 reports of animal cruelty extending back to 2019, well before Ms. Sword’s spouse would have perished. Ms. Sword was arrested and is currently being detained on a surety of $85,000.