Pottawatomie County sheriff's deputies and an entourage from a local rescue organization rescued nine starving horses from a rural property west of Tecumseh Friday, where three horses also were found dead.

Note: An in-depth look at how Pottawatomie County Sheriff's Deputies, along with volunteers from a local non-profit horse rescue, worked together Friday to rescue nine starving horses from a rural residence west of Tecumseh, where three dead horses also were found, and the lengthy process it will take to get these horses back to health.


Pottawatomie County sheriff's deputies and an entourage from a local rescue organization rescued nine starving horses from a rural property west of Tecumseh Friday, where three horses also were found dead.

Undersheriff Travis Palmer said authorities, with a search warrant in hand, converged upon a small acreage on Maple Leaf Circle owned by Cristina D. Weisner. That residence is located west of Tecumseh near the Cleveland County line.

Volunteers from Blaze's Tribute Equine Rescue, with several horse trailers in tow, assisted in the operation to pick up a total of nine malnourished horses.

Three horses also were found dead on the property, with Palmer saying one had been dead a month or so while the two others had died in the past week.

Palmer said the search warrant developed after an anonymous tip about starving horses prompted deputies to respond initially to the home, where deputies could see one dead horse and possibly two. The other horses had no hay, no feed and the water troughs were empty, Palmer said.

At that time, deputies offered to put the owner of the horses in touch with people who could help her with the horses, Palmer said, but she refused any help and told deputies not to come back without a warrant. Palmer said deputies put a case and rescue operation together and obtained the warrant that was served Friday.

Just last week, Pottawatomie County Sheriff Mike Booth sent four of his deputies to training provided by the Humane Society that is specifically aimed at helping law enforcement investigate these types of cases, Palmer said.

Lt. Travis Sullivan, Lt. Jimmy Brewer and Deputies Brad Setzer and Keith Webb completed that useful training, with Sullivan and Webb working Friday's scene along with Deputy Josh Fry.

Because of the recent training, when this case unfolded, Palmer said deputies already had a contact in horse rescue.

Knowing there were at least two dead horses and many others in need of help, Palmer said Blaze's Tribute Equine Rescue, which is located in Jones, along with M&M Disposal crews from Tecumseh, assisted in the operation.

“We found nine horses in extremely poor health,” Palmer said. “This has been going on for a while.”

Since deputies first visited the home on Wednesday, Palmer said hay was on site for the horses Friday, but it was of poor quality.

While no arrests were made on Friday, Palmer said the case will be submitted to the district attorney's office involving numerous allegations of animal cruelty.

For now, everyone's attention is on the horses.

Blaze's Tribute Equine Rescue has its own veterinarian that can immediately start helping the horses, Palmer said, in hopes all of them can be nursed back to health.

“They really have a passion for rescuing horses,” Palmer said of the rescue group.

While Pottawatomie County usually has no where to take the confiscated animals, the contacts made during the recent training proved helpful.

Palmer said the sheriff hopes to send even more deputies to the training as well; Palmer said they receive many complaints each year for starving horses.

A horse's rehabilitation process from severe malnourishment can be a lengthy process.

According to the Blaze's website, they've rescued 1,301 horses since 2001, with 1,066 adopted. The organization primarily works in animal cruelty cases and often assists law enforcement.

As far as the three dead horses, Palmer said they were taken by M&M Disposal to the OSU Veterinary School, where they will be examined to determine cause of the death.

And while it was too late for those horses, the other horses spent Friday night in new surroundings.

According to a post on the Blaze's Facebook page, the horses are beginning their long road to recovery.

“These horses have suffered too long and several just seem to accept that their life would just be ending on that property, much like three of their companions,” it reads.

“They are settling in and currently enjoying a meal. We have our wonderful veterinarians scheduled to examine all these horses and prepare their rehabilitation.”

The nine horses added to those in the rescue brings their count to 120 horses currently on rescue.

Anyone wanting to help the horses can support the rescue by going to http://www.blazesequinerescue.com/.

Watch for updates.