Blaze's Tribute Equine Rescue

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How We Operate and Handle Animal Cruelty Cases


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Animal Cruelty: We see it every day and many of us, don't know where to turn when we see a starving horse, etc., The first thing you have to do when you see animal cruelty is contact your local County Sheriff's Office or Animal Welfare Division and file an animal cruelty complaint. Please provide as much information to them as you can, what you saw, how long you have noticed the problem, etc., As with any complaint and investigation, they have to start building a case. Generally, they will go visit with the owner of the horses and find out what is going on. They can give the owners a time frame to comply and show that they are trying to provide proper care for their horses. They will continue to follow up with the owners to make sure they are complying. Once the owners are no longer complying, the Sheriff's Department can file for a seizure warrant, which at that time, has to show probable cause. It is important that they have enough evidence to prove neglect in order to have a successful case. The last thing anyone wants is for the horses to be returned to the owner. I know when you are reporting animal cruelty; you are frustrated and want to see immediate results. Most of the time, law enforcement are doing what they can to get those horses assistance. Granted, there are a few counties that are not as pro-active regarding animal cruelty. It may not be that they don't want to work the case, but lack resources to successfully handle the investigation.

So, most wonder, where do the rescues come in to play? For us, we don't get involved until we are contacted by the County or City. Once they contact us and request our assistance, then we will start helping any way we can. For County, once the warrant is issued, we meet them at the residence and start seizing the horses. We never enter the property without permission from the sheriff's department first. As a rescue, we are merely a 3rd party that is there to assist. Without rescues, law enforcement have nowhere to turn during these seizures. They don't have the funds to properly house or care for horses. If law enforcement has to find the funds to care for the horses, generally once they gain ownership of the horses, they are forced to sale them at local livestock auctions, in order to recoup their funds. Once we assist with a seizure, we pull the horses, transport them back to our facility, document each horse, have our veterinarian do a full physical exam on each horse, deworm, float teeth, vaccinate, trim feet, etc., Our horses are always under veterinarian care. We follow her guidelines to properly rehabilitate each horse. We spend a lot of time and money caring for the horses in our program. We assist the law enforcement with as much documentation as we can, to prove the horses were neglected. An important thing to remember is once the horses are seized, they are evidence and you have to be careful not to jeopardize the case. We don't release information about the case, until the Sheriff's Department gives us permission. We don't release pictures until the owner's rights are forfeited.

After the horses are seized, the Sheriff's Department files for a civil suit to be heard in court, within 10 days of the horses being seized. This is merely a civil suit to determine disposition of the animals. This is not were criminal charges are filed. Criminal charges cannot be filed until the civil suit is completed. This process is called the bond and forfeiture hearing. Both sides are heard in front of a judge. The judge will determine, based on the evidence, whether you are court ordered to forfeit your rights of ownership or place a bond. The bond is an amount, set by the Sheriff's department which includes veterinary care, daily boarding, etc., it is usually an amount that will cover 3 months of care and must be paid within 48 hours of the hearing. The bond, merely allows the owner to maintain ownership rights of the animals, while in custody. The owner has to pay for all care during the duration of the trail. That does not guarantee the owner that he will receive the animals back.

What we provide law enforcement during a seizure: Horses that are at OKC-AWD: Cruelty cases worked by Oklahoma City Animal Welfare Division remain there until the case is closed. Oklahoma City Animal Welfare may have those horses for at least a year.

Estrays: Horses are often found running at large in the Oklahoma City Area. It is not that they have been turned loose, it is merely a matter of they got out. Oklahoma City picks up those horses and transports them to the City Shelter. Horses stay at the Shelter for 5 days, waiting for the owner to reclaim. Owners can reclaim their horses anytime during that 5 day hold. Keep in mind, the owner has reclaim fees that are based on daily care to be paid, in order to get your animal back. A lot of owners do not come forward to claim their animal, merely because they don't want to pay the fines, or they can't afford them. After the 5 days, they are considered abandoned and become property of the City of Oklahoma City. They will attempt to adopt those horses out first to the public. After that point, we are contacted to pick up those horses. Our primary focus is to assist Oklahoma City Animal Welfare Division.

Despite what some may think, we NEVER seek out or look for horses. We ONLY assist law enforcement with animal cruelty cases. We rarely accept owner surrendered horses. We stay very busy, just with the neglect cases. We don't generally purchase horses from the sale barns. Why? I can't go to a sale and Pick and choose what is worthy of being rescued. I could never take one and leave the others behind. In my opinion As a rescue, when you are called to assist with a case, YOU TAKE THEM ALL, no matter the condition, no matter the disposition and no matter what the medical injuries or illnesses may include. Everyone operates differently! And that is fine, but at the end of the day, I need to know that I helped every horse that I can. Granted, there has been a few rare occasions that I have purchased horses from our local livestock auction, usually, someone we know called upon us to save a horse they observed while there. Our funds, donations, grants, adoption fee's, etc., are used to rehabilitate the horses that come into our rescue. We do not have paid staff and are not government funded.

Our focus is to Rescue, Rehabilitate and Rehome. We are very proud of our adoption rate. We take a lot of time to assist our adopters in finding the right horse for their needs and family. We usually spend at least 2 hours per adopter. We show all horses at our facility and once the potential adopter expresses interest in a horse, if it is broke to ride, we will saddle the horse up and show them what the horse knows. We want the potential adopter to ride the horse before deciding, as we want both the rider and the horse to be comfortable with each other.

* ALL OF OUR RESCUED HORSES ARE FREEZE BRANDED. PLEASE SEE ABOVE WHAT OUR BRAND LOOKS LIKE. IF YOU EVER SEE THIS BRAND IN JEOPARDY, PLEASE NOTIFY US IMMEDIATELY. WE DO NOT SEND OUR RESCUED HORSES TO THE LIVESTOCK AUCTION OR TO SLAUGHTER, NOR IS OUR ADOPTED HORSES ALLOWED TO BE SOLD AT A LIVESTOCK AUCTION.

* FREEZE BRANDING IS A HUMANE METHOD OF IDENTIFYING HORSES OVER HOT IRON BRANDING. IF YOU HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED A LOSS FROM A TORNADO OR A VICTIM OF HORSE THEFT, YOU WILL UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF PROPER IDENTIFICATION. BRAND THEM AND PROTECT THEM. WE HAVE ALSO STARTED MICRO CHIPPING OUR RESCUED HORSES. HOWEVER, WE DON'T USE THAT AS OUR PRIMARY FORM OF IDENTIFICATION, DUE TO THE LACK OF SALE BARNS, ETC., PROPERLY SCANNING HORSES FOR A CHIP.

* OUR HORSES ARE NEVER IN JEOPARDY OF GOING TO SLAUGHTER. NO TIME LINE, THEY WILL BE HERE UNTIL THE PERFECT FAMILY COMES ALONG TO ADOPT.

* I ASK YOU FOR THE WELFARE OF THE HORSE, THAT IF YOU EVER SEE A HORSE IN A LIVESTOCK AUCTION THAT YOU BELIEVE WAS ONCE IN OUR PROGRAM, TO PLEASE CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY, SO THAT WE CAN ASSURE THAT HORSES SAFETY.

Our horses are our number 1 priority and we invest a lot of ourselves to each horse. This is a family affair and we all give up a lot, in order to make sure every horse receives the care that they need and deserve. We made many sacrifices in our lives, in order to start and run our rescue organization. We take a lot of pride in what we do and our reputation is very important to us. We have been assisting law enforcement for the last 13 years.

I understand that you can't please everyone! We do the best that we can! Before you make an assumption about us based on something you have heard, come visit us and get the facts. Come see our horses, meet us, perhaps volunteer your time during a work weekend. Come visit us on a Friday, while our Veterinarian and Farrier are here hard at work caring for our rescued horses. Keep in mind that since we work with law enforcement and assist with seizures, that we unfortunately, upset the former owners. They are angry that they have lost their horse. That is understandable, but we aren't there to make friends, we are there to save a life. Our focus is the HORSES!

Thank you for reading the background of animal cruelty cases that we assist with. We are always available for questions. We have a wonderful group of board members that are also available for questions. They take as much pride in this organization as we do. Here is a list of valued members of Blaze's Tribute Equine Rescue, should you ever have any questions or concerns that you would like to relate to them.

Natalee Cross, Shawn Cross, Desiree Walling, Tina Hummell, Brian Walling, Jennifer Bates, A'Lissa Devorss, Larry Bishop, Justina Meixner, Ileah Branning and Steve Webster.

Anyone is welcome to schedule an appointment to come visit the horses in our rescue program. We are available by appointment Monday - Thursday after 5:30 pm and generally anytime Friday - Sunday by appointment. You can always call us at 405-399-3084 or email us at blazesequineresc@aol.com for questions or appointments. Thank you for your continued Support.

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If you would like to Donate or Sponsor a horse in our care please Donate here.



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