PLEASANT PRAIRIE (WITI) -- FOX6 News has learned concerns over a farm in Pleasant Prairie date back to 2003 -- long before 24 horses were seized from the farm and the remains of 55 more were discovered in mass graves.
FOX6 News has learned of 18 reports regarding the Pleasant Prairie farm owned by David White and his wife, Paula over the last decade. 16 of those are complaints were about the farm's horses. Several were made anonymously.
Police were told the horses were skinny, malnourished and treated badly.
"Every call we took there, we took very seriously," David Mogensen with the Pleasant Prairie Police Department said.
Time and time again, police reported no evidence of mistreatment.
"Each horse had its own stall, livestock on the property appeared to be in good health. No problems found," Mogensen said.
A few of the complaints came from Sherry Moctezuma, Paula's daughter-in-law. In 2008, she told police 25 horses had died and their bodies were buried in the backyard.
"The coyotes would go back there and dig up the bones of the horses cause they didn't bury them very deep," Moctezuma said.
The complaint was eventually ruled a civil matter.
Seven months later, police issued an abatement order against the farm after seeing horses that appeared underweight grazing in their own manure. A veterinarian studied 54 horses, and found just three were malnourished. A follow-up visit 90 days later reported improvements.
"At that point, they had satisfied the requirements," Mogensen said.
Police say until recently, they hadn't found enough evidence to issue a search warrant of the entire property -- and around 2012, David and Paula stopped allowing officers to step foot on the farm.
"Unless we have credible recent information from a complainant we cannot get on the property without a search warrant," Mogensen said.