A national animal advocacy group has awarded $40,000 to help Oklahoma horse rescuers feed their animals and to help horse owners in need.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals awarded a total of $250,000 to two dozen agencies in Oklahoma and Texas, which both are suffering from severe drought, according to the agency.
The economy and the drought have put a strain on horse rescues and private owners, said Catherine English, superintendent of Animal Welfare for Oklahoma City. English said the Oklahoma City animal shelter has received about three times as many horses this year as they have in years past.
Grant winners must spend at least a quarter of their money on giving hay to owners in need, English said.
High hay prices have left some horse owners in the community unable to afford food for their animals, English said.
“We want them to keep their horses,” English said. “A lot of people are attached to their horses like they are to their dogs. They don't want to lose them. Those are the people we want to help. We'll prosecute people for cruelty. When people are just struggling, but they're doing their best otherwise ... that's where we can step in and help them a little bit right now.”
Four agencies that care for rescued horses in Oklahoma received grants.
• Blaze's Tribute Equine Rescue was awarded $15,000. The nonprofit rescue agency is based in Jones and has about 120 horses, English said.
• The Animal Welfare Division of Oklahoma City received $5,000. The agency takes in horses that have been abused, neglected, relinquished or turned loose.
• The Exceller Fund received $10,000. The nonprofit is based in Lexington, Ky. The group works to transition racing horses after their careers are finished. They have 23 foster horses in Oklahoma, according to the ASPCA.
• Horse Feathers Equine Rescue was awarded $10,000. The nonprofit agency is based in Guthrie.