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They are not just pasture animals

Investigating horse cruelty is a difficult part of the job for Oklahoma City Animal welfare officers. Mike Cronic, one of the investigators, is shown standing in front of one of the horses Animal Welfare was trying to help. [Photo Provided]
Investigating horse cruelty is a difficult part of the job for Oklahoma City Animal welfare officers. Mike Cronic, one of the investigators, is shown standing in front of one of the horses Animal Welfare was trying to help. [Photo Provided]

Each year, Oklahoma City Animal Welfare responds to dozens of cruelty complaints involving horses. Many of these horses are starving, left in pastures without food, water or shelter.

Unfortunately, in some cases, officers are too late and unable to save the horse.

This is a harsh reality for many of Oklahoma City Animal Welfare officers and something they see far too frequently. Oklahoma City is a large city with a lot of rural areas. Far northeast and southeast Oklahoma City have a lot of acreage areas where it is common for residents to own horses and other types of livestock. Many of the acreages do not have houses on the property; therefore the owner is not always present to care for the animals.

Horses have a lot of different dietary needs and just being placed in a pasture where the only food is grass is not enough. They are also in need of routine veterinary care to ensure they stay healthy. Many of the horse owners Oklahoma City Animal Welfare deals with do not know or understand this. They see horses as pasture animals and think that, as long as they have grass and water, they will be okay. Oklahoma City Animal Welfare officers spend a lot of time with these owners in an attempt to educate them on how to be a responsible horse owner.

Many of the owners Oklahoma City Animal Welfare encounters are unable to afford the proper care of their horses. Feed and veterinary care can be expensive. Rather than seeking out help, they allow the animal to stand in a pasture where their health slowly declines.

Some owners are also of the belief that horses are meant to live outside and therefore shelter is not needed. This could not be further from the truth. Horses need protection from the Oklahoma weather just as much as any other type of animal. Before deciding to become a horse owner please consider all that is involved and the cost.

Animal cruelty is illegal, and Oklahoma City Animal Welfare takes the responsibility of enforcing these laws seriously. If you are unable to care for your horse appropriately, you can contact Animal Welfare before the horse’s health declines and some assistance may be provided to assist you in getting food for your animal. The Oklahoma City Animal Welfare food bank can be contacted by calling (405) 316-3663 or via e-mail at awcommunityprograms@okc.gov. If you need to report animal cruelty, you can contact Oklahoma City Animal Welfare at (405) 297-2255.

To find out more about Oklahoma City Animal Welfare, visit www.okc.gov/animalwelfare

Jonathan Gary

Jonathan Gary is Oklahoma City Animal Welfare superintendent. He has worked at Oklahoma City Animal Welfare for 18 years, working in all areas of operation leading up to his promotion to superintendent in August 2016. Read more ›

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