“There’s really no excuse for this kind of mistreatment,” said Sergeant Jeff Halfacre. “These animals have suffered greatly and any reasonable person would have acted long before it got to this point. It’s our job to make sure that people who hurt animals are held accountable, and we are going to do our job.”

The Wagoner Sheriff’s Office says that criminal charges are likely forthcoming against the owner of five neglected horses that were found without food or water this month.

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Local law enforcement received a call from a concerned resident regarding what appeared to be five starving horses on May 2.

Deputies found the emaciated animals in an 5-acre fenced pen in the Haskell area.

 The resident aided the police officers in attending to the horses’ immediate need for food and water. Deputies reportedly found the half-buried skeletal remains of two additional horses on the property at that time.

Here’s more from Tulsa World:

 The Sheriff’s Office began working to find the owner of the horses and, after a lengthy investigation, found him living in Beggs. The man told deputies he thought someone else was taking care of the animals and that he was not able to do so himself, Halfacre said.

The owner voluntarily surrendered custody of the horses, which were taken in by Blaze’s Tribute Equine Center in Jones.

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Halfacre said the Sheriff’s Office still is investigating the case and that animal abuse charges — a felony — are expected. He did not know how long the investigation would take.

The horses will be available for adoption after they are deemed healthy.

Anyone interested in doing so can contact the equine rescue group at 405-399-3084.

And while it’s convenient for the owner of the horses to claim he was unaware of their neglect, or that he didn’t have the money… those excuses fall on deaf ears. If you take on the responsibility for the care of an animal, then you are obligated (morally and legally) to provide food, water, shelter, and medical care.

If you become unable to do so at any time, then it’s also your responsibility to surrender those animals to the proper authorities. Case closed!

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What should this man’s punishment be?