HAMLIN BEACH -- Authorities on Thursday seized two horses from an overgrown field, including a mare that officials say was weak and some 400 pounds underweight.

Charleston County sheriff's deputies said they took the horses into protective custody after they were discovered tethered in the field behind a house at 2677 Mercury Road, about five miles north of Mount Pleasant.

Neither horse had food or water, authorities said.

The mare was lying on the ground and unresponsive when they found her, according to Liz Leoncavallo, a volunteer with LEARN, Livestock & Equine Awareness and Rescue Network. The organization was contacted by the Sheriff's Office.

"We gave her some water, rinsed her down and got her into the shade," Leoncavallo said. "It's a hot day and they have no access to food or water. It's not going to be a good outcome for them to stay like that."

She said it took about 30 minutes for the horse to gain the strength to walk to a trailer. The mare and the male horse will be taken into care for rehabilitation, she said.

The horses' owner was not present at the scene. Rufus Manigault Jr., who lives on the property, said the property owner permitted the horses' owner to keep the horses in the field. He said the horses' owner was in the field every day after work, feeding and watering them.

Deputies issued Manigault two citations for ill treatment of animals and urged him to have the horses' owner contact the Sheriff's Office. The case remains under investigation.

David W. MacDougall contributed to this report. Reach Andy Paras at 937-5589, aparas@postandcourier.com or on twitter at twitter.com/andyparas.