|Updated: 10/05/2011 9:02 am
||Published: 10/04/2011 9:08 pm
Most of Oklahoma has been in a severe drought for months. The aftermath of the dry conditions is showing up on the side of roads, as wildlife rescuers continue finding horses that are left to fend for themselves.
"Owners are just throwing their hands up, or cutting their fences and turning them out," said Reginald Murray, owner of Oklahoma Wildlife Control.
Murray said at least seven cases of horse neglect have popped up across Green Country in the past couple of weeks.
He said the cost of hay has tripled and the high price tag has made it difficult for owners to continue feeding their horses.
In August, Murray rescued Gus, a 5-year-old White Blanket Appaloosa. He said the horse was a fraction of the weight it should have been.
"You could count each rib, including the floating rib," said Murray. "He should have never looked like this."
Murray has Gus on a strict diet. He said the plan is to have the horse in good enough condition to ride in about a month.
Last week, the Rogers County Sheriff's Office confiscated three horses, one of them did not survive.
"The gentleman that owned them seemed to have some financial strain," said Captain Joe Batt.
Batt said the two horses that survived are being cared for by the Wild Heart Ranch, in Claremore.
Animal neglect is a felony that is punishable by up to $5,000 and seven years in prison.