Deanne Stein, News 9
JONES, Oklahoma -- Neglected, abused, and starved. That's unfortunately the condition of many horses across Oklahoma.
And what's worse, is one non-profit organization that works with law enforcement agencies to rescue these horses, now finds it needs some help itself.
"It can get a little overwhelming at times, but at the same time, I don't know what I would do if I didn't do it," said Natalee Cross with Blaze's Tribute Equine Rescue in Jones, Oklahoma.
Cross and her family run Blaze's Tribute and for the past 11 years, they have come across some pretty deplorable situations.
"They are walking skeletons, another 24 hours and they'd be dead," Cross said. "Most of them, their herd mates are already passed away. We're walking over carcasses to get live horses out."
Cross works with local law enforcement agencies and has been successful in rescuing hundreds of horses who are neglected, abused and starving.
"When you take in an emaciated horse that was on the brink of death and then three months later you're seeing this horse back to its prime and feeling good, you know why you're here," Cross said.
Blaze's cares for 90 to 130 horses at any given time, training, feeding and bringing them back to life. And that care isn't cheap. Cross says it costs approximately $4,000 every two weeks just to feed them.
"It's becoming a little bit more of a challenge each day to get everything that you have to get for them, with the cost increases and the donations and funding being lower than normal," Cross said.
Blaze's is privately funded through donations, adoption fees and private grants. They need all sorts of donations including hay and grain. They also have around 50 horses ready to be adopted.
"People think that rescued means damaged and they're not," Cross said. "They have big hearts and they are willing to do anything that you are willing to train and ask them to do."