JOHNS ISLAND - Charleston County officials are assessing the health of horses on the Kennerleigh Farm this afternoon after receiving an anonymous tip.

The county sheriff's office received a call at 9:40 a.m. from a representative of the Livestock Equine Awareness and Rescue Network suggesting that some horses at the farm were being neglected, said Charleston County Sheriff's Lt. Jack Scarborough.

They subsequently went on the 65-acre property on Plowground Road to conduct a welfare check and decided there was reason for a search warrant, and are assessing the animals now.

"There are a few back there that are questionable," Scarborough said. When asked if any of the horses would be seized, he said "we're not 100 percent sure right now."

However, two horse trailers have been driven to the property.

Veterinarian Justin Miller, of Shambley Equine Clinic in Summerville, said he saw a lack of water, poor nutrition, and overt signs of intestinal parasites on six horses of concern. He said he could see the horses' ribs and spines.

Miller is assessing the horses now, and Scarborough said he thought the investigation would take at least two hours.

Scarborough said the property owner, who owns 22 of the 30 horses on the farm, is cooperating, but would not name her because there is some confusion as to who holds the deed to the farm. The remaining 8 horses are boarders.

Miller said he's definitely seeing more cases of ill or undernourished horses because of the economy and the heat. Cases of heat stroke, colic and foot problems all have been among the illnesses he's seen. He said he's been at a dozen different properties to examine horses recently.

"The sustained humidity has had a serious effect," he said. "It just wears on them."

Check back with postandcourier.com for more on this developing story.