21 horses, dog found dead at abandoned North Carolina property

(FOX NEWS) -- An animal cruelty investigation was underway in North Carolina after 21 horses and a dog reportedly were found dead on an abandoned property.

The animals were discovered in the southern part of Wake County, outside Raleigh, WTVD reported on Friday.

Gwen Roberts, who operates a therapeutic riding center nearby, said a neighbor called her after suspecting the animals could be in trouble.

"When I walked back there and went around the corner, it was just horrifying ... they were all dead," Roberts said of the animals. "It was just bad. It was really bad. They didn't have to die. All they had to do is ask for help. It's really sad."

One dog was found alive on the property, stuck inside the same cage as the deceased dog, according to the Wake County Sheriff's Office.

"As an animal owner myself, it is quite disturbing for any animal to have to suffer, like these animals, we assume, did," sheriff's office spokesman Eric Curry said.

Investigators are attempting to locate a "person of interest."

Necropsies are slated for several horses to determine their cause of death.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.