Three horses on a Waterford property have been grabbing the attention of locals for months.

Concerns escalated on Friday when photos surfaced on social media, apparently showing the sick horses in the cold.

“I didn’t think it was going to go this far, but I was definitely at my wit’s end with nothing being done and these horses were going to die,” said Natalie Tupper, who took the photos.

About a dozen people gathered at the address in protest.

"I feel for these people. My initial reaction was to stop and offer help but they wouldn't talk to me," Tupper explained.

For its part, the Ontario SPCA said it was aware of the situation and are conducting an "open investigation" with the Norfolk County OPP.

They said they have been out to visit the animals several times and have addressed concerns reported.

In a statement on its website, the OSPCA said that the animals had always had access to food, water and shelter during their visits.

“Ongoing action is being taken to help these animals,” the OSPCA said. “The Society would like to reassure the public that we have been out to visit the animals several times and have addressed any concerns reported.”

The Ontario SPCA added that “images on social media do not share the full story.”

“We recognize the pictures shared on social media of the horses are concerning,” the statement goes on. “The horses involved are sick and have been under ongoing veterinary care. Whenever we have visited the property to address concerns brought forward, the owners have always worked well with us to ensure the animals are getting the care they require. The horses have always had food, water and shelter available to them when we have visited the property.”

“Speaking to the homeowner, I was advised that the horse has been ill for quite some time and that, he indicated that the horse was supposed to be euthanized as of Thursday,” said Const. Ed Sanchuk.

A veterinarian was on-site to assess the situations, euthanizing one of the animals.

The owners were too distraught to speak to CTV.

According to the OPP, the other two horses were given over to the humane society to be cared for.

The investigation is ongoing, and it is not known whether charges would be laid.

With reports from Marta Czurylowicz.