CATALDO, Idaho -

The Kootenai County Sheriff's Office is investigating reports that horses are being abused at a northern Idaho ranch that bills itself as an equine rescue operation.

The Coeur d'Alene Press reports Idaho brand inspectors and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are assisting in scrutiny of Mustang Ranch and Rescue in Cataldo.

Kootenai County Sheriff's Office Lt. Stu Miller says people complained horses at the facility in this town along U.S. Interstate 90 east of Coeur d'Alene appeared malnourished.

Miller's agency and the others are now trying to determine whether the animals were accepted in that condition -- or were neglected after arriving.

Dawn Dempsey, a horse rescuer from Sandpoint, believes Mustang Ranch is mistreating its animals.

Phone calls to Sean and Bonny Black, owners of the ranch, weren't returned.