GROVETOWN, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT)-- It's a bittersweet ending to the story that stole the hearts of many. Even the heart of Investigator Waller.
"I'm real proud to be a part of this," Investigator Ken Waller with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office said. "Surprisingly, I'm a little sad to see some of them go this morning."
Due to the safety of the horses, we can't say where they're going, but we can tell you they're going to shelters registered with the Department of Agriculture.
"I've learned more about horses in the last three to four weeks then I have ever thought I'd know," Investigator Waller said. "I've been a police officer now for nearly 27 years and never had to be a cowboy before."
Today is the first step to a brighter future. A future away from overcrowding, piles of manure and little to no food or water.
"I'm happy they're going to good shelters and to be in good conditions and anybody who can look on these cameras that you guys have got out here can see the mud and the manure that they're having to walk around in. It's just untenable."
Every day for the past 25 days, these officers have devoted their time and resources to caring for these animals.
"There's a lot of them that are very affectionate and social," Jeremiah Ford with Columbia County Animal Services said. "You get to put your hands on them every day and mess around with them and they learn you same as you've learned a lot about them."
"I am sad to see a few of them go," Ford said.
As the field supervisor for Columbia County Animal Services, Jeremiah Ford has been around a lot of animals. But never, he says, has he seen a case like this.
"With this being 40-plus horses when we first got here it was a little overwhelming just to see it for yourself," Ford said.
As the first shelter pulled away, the effort and push to save these horses was worth it.
"Our number one thing is the health and the safety of our citizens and our animals," Ford said. "That includes 40 horses out here on Rockford."
10 horses were taken today by this shelter. On Monday, other shelters will remove the rest. On March 12, the owner from Florida will take his 15 horses. By Tuesday, it'll likely be an empty farm.