Duplin County sheriff’s deputies were called out to the residence at about 11 a.m. after the emaciated horses were discovered by concerned citizens.
Deputies tried to issue a search warrant but Clifton Jacobs, who was renting the home, refused to come outside.
Jacobs, 43, shot and killed himself inside the home just after 5 p.m. Sunday, Duplin County Sheriff Blake Wallace said.
The horses belonged to Jacobs, according to Wallace.
It was not yet known when or how the horses died.