PAULS VALLEY — Sheriff’s deputies and volunteers rounded up 87 horses deemed in poor condition Tuesday on a ranch east of Pauls Valley. Four carcasses also were found on the 400-acre ranch eight miles east of the city, Garvin County Sheriff Steve Brooks said. Sheriff’s department officials spent the day catching and moving the animals to Wynnewood Rodeo Grounds where they were evaluated by a veterinarian. Although it wasn’t the worse case he’s seen, many of the animals were malnourished and three or four are in bad enough shape they may not survive, said Dale Fullerton, an investigator with the State Veterinary Board. "She (the owner) just got in over her head.” This is the second major rescue the Garvin County sheriff’s office has done in a few months, Brooks said. It’s a sad situation, he said, but other counties in the state are dealing with the same thing. With the poor economy, many people can’t afford to feed and care for their animals. The past year has been one of the worst for horse abuse cases in the 20 years she’s worked in animal welfare, said Ruth Steinberger, outreach director for Oklahoma Alliance for Animals. The organization provided food and emergency supplies Tuesday for the horses’ immediate needs. "We’ve seen a massive upsurge in the abandonment and abuse of horses,” she said. She urges people to call for help with their animals before it gets so bad. "People do not have to let themselves get to the point where their crisis becomes criminal.” No arrests have been made. The animals’ owner was cooperative and signed the horses over to the sheriff’s department, Brooks said. Evidence will be collected, and it will be up to the district attorney’s office whether any charges will be filed. Many of the horses will be moved to Blaze’s Tribute Equine Rescue where they will be rehabilitated and put up for adoption, Fullerton said. Oklahoma Alliance for Animals is collecting donations to help with the cost of caring for the horses. All money will go directly to the animals’ care, said Steinberger. Money can be mailed to 2642 E 21st St., Suite 120, Tulsa OK, 74114. Garvin County horses should be written on the memo line. For more information on the alliance, call (918) 742-3700 or visit www.animalallianceok.org.