Sheriff's deputies in central Oklahoma are calling it the worst case of animal abuse they have ever seen. Dozens of horse carcasses were removed from a farm full of malnourished animals early Saturday.
"You can feel through the hair how boney they are," said one volunteer who was working to save the animals.
Volunteers and deputies worked to save 64 horses, 26 dogs and many other animals from near-death conditions.
"It's terrible," Seminole County Sheriff's deputy David Hanson said. "It brings tears to your eyes."
Up to 30 dead horses were found on the property where deputies say convicted felon Carolyn "Nichole" Vaughn spent her days hoarding animals and junk. She kept the animals out of sight, but eventually someone saw them and called the sheriff's office.
1/20/2012 Related Story: Nowata County Woman Found Guilty Of Cruelty To Animals
Vaughn is currently behind bars and will be charged with animal cruelty and violating carcass laws. Deputies say before the nightmare, she was found guilty of running a puppy mill.
"Whatever the case might be, as long as someone can step in and help out, that's key," one volunteer said.
Officials said, early Saturday, someone brought the horses hay. The animals ate for hours before being taken away for medical observation.
"This is the worst I've ever seen," Hanson said.
Volunteers with a rescue called Blaze's Tribute said each animal will be checked out by a vet. The volunteers said they can't continue without support, and they may soon be looking for people to take the horses in after they are well.
"They're saving these horses," Hanson said. "They're doing a great job. Without them, I don't know what we would have done."
By the end of the rescue, the animals were carefully loaded onto trailers and sent off to be inspected, fed, washed up and loved. Deputies with the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office also assisted in the rescue.
Vaughn is being held on $100,000 bond.
If you would like to help contact the rescue here: http://www.blazesequinerescue.com/