Dr Jan Johnston: "This is one of the worst ones I've ever dealt with." Dr Jan Johnston still fights back tears every time she sees them.
Dr Jan Johnston: "These are on the verge of death."
Thoroughbreds, a far cry from the champions they're known to be, these have bones protruding, festering sores, patches of hair missing, the rest ruffled and unruly from lack of nutrients, some barely able to stand.
Dr Jan Johnston: â€œHow does anybody let them get in this condition and sleep at night?"
Amazingly these fared better than some found at the 3 R Ranch where Osage County investigators spotted 17 rotting corpses.
The owner of the horses, Dale Randall, reportedly claims a mysterious illness is responsible for the condition of the animals. When I called and asked for his side of the story he refused to speak to me."
Dr Johnston disputes the disease claim saying the biggest evidence is the animals behavior she says if the issue were illness the horses would not rush toward food.
Dr Jan Johnston: "Definitely starvation, no doubt. It's a starvation situation."
Johnston says the horses are riddled with parasites not to mention lack of dental, hoof and grooming care. But because they've had little human contact and are using all of their strength just to survive she says stressing their systems with other medication right now could kill them.
Dr Jan Johnston: "This condition to bring em out of it is really tough, it's a slow, slow, slow process."
Johnston says the ranch has healthy horses living on either side more evidence to refute claims of a communicable disease.
Dr Jan Johnston: "If it were a disease then, why didn't these horses have some attention prior to now?"
Dr Jan Johnston: "It just tears at your heart. These horses are, you know, they're at our mercy. They're domesticated animals they depend on us for everything."
Dr Jan Johnston: "Hopefully we can keep em all alive."