A local horse rescue organization is keeping busy this summer.
Volunteers say there's been a surge in animal cruelty cases, and now many horses are in their care. Those volunteers have helped rescue malnourished horses all across our state, most recently from a home in Edmond.
Animal welfare workers say there are typically more reports of animal cruelty in the summertime, but they haven't seen anything like this before.
Natalee Cross has a lot to take to care of right now. She runs Blaze's Tribute Equine Rescue in Jones. Volunteers there, so far this year, have rescued nearly 150 neglected horses.
"It's always hard to see, but we just get in there and focus on them and get them out of that situation so we can get them on the road to recovery," Cross said.
They recently helped Seminole County sheriff's deputies with one of the worst animal cruelty cases they've seen.
"Most of them were rocking skeletons, and there was just hardly nothing left to them. Many of them had already deceased prior to the rescue, so it was a big undertaking and a lot of horses at one time," Cross said.
They rescued 64 horses. Other cases this summer in Garvin and Oklahoma Counties have brought in even more horses to their facility.
"We have a rehabilitation process that our veterinarian comes in immediately after we get them for seizure, and she does blood work and does a physical exam on them so we can get them on the right path to get them rehabilitated," Cross said.
The past two years, they saw a spike in cases because of the drought. That's why with our recent rains, this year's increase comes as a surprise.
"I'd like to think we'd be making a dent in the cruelty population, but it seems like it's just getting worse," Cross said.
It's expensive to care for all those horses. The non-profit is spending up to $9,000 a month on food and medical bills. The rescue has 124 horses right now. Many of them are ready to be adopted.
For information on adoption or how to make a donation, go to http://www.blazesequinerescue.com/