A Ridge woman who rented out her carriage horses for special events has been charged with five counts of animal cruelty after they were found to be "extremely underweight," the Suffolk Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said Tuesday.

Last month, five horses from Cynthia Schultes' farm were taken in by an out-of-state boarding facility, where an equine veterinarian determined they had been neglected, said SPCA chief Roy Gross. One horse was near death, anemic and had to have an eye removed because of long-term neglect, he said.

Schultes, 52, ran a business renting out the animals as carriage horses, for events such as weddings, Gross said.

"If you have a limousine, you got to take care of it," the SPCA chief said. "You need that for your livelihood. This is a living being. Why wouldn't you take care of it?"

Beside being underweight, the horses also had various medical problems that had gone untreated for some time and required immediate attention, he said.

SPCA detectives has visited the boarding facility and saw the horses were improving with medical treatment and adequate food, the agency said.

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Schultes was charged Aug. 15 and is scheduled to appear Oct. 17 in First District Court in Central Islip. Each misdemeanor charge carries up to a year in jail or a $1,000 fine or both.

Schultes declined to comment Tuesday evening on the advice of her attorney.

Gross said the boarding facility had heard about the animal abuse allegations and offered to take and treat the horses.

He declined to say which state the facility was in.

Schultes has four other horses still on her property, the SPCA head said, and while they appeared healthy, discussions are underway with the Suffolk district attorney's office about any possible further actions.