EL PASO COUNTY – The price of feeding livestock in Colorado is on the rise because of our hot, dry summer and all the wildfires this year. It also increases the likelihood of more animals neglect cases, especially among horse owners.
The hay situation in Colorado right now, is high demand with limited availability. It is pushing up prices. “What used to cost 100 to $150 a ton, now we’re seeing 200, 250 $300 a ton and it’s probably going to keep going up from there,” said Carrie Terroux-Barrett with Colorado Horse Rescue Network.
At the horse rescue it raises the possibility of a lot more horses coming their way in the months ahead. “Hay prices directly relate to the number of neglect cases that we see,” said Terroux-Barrett.
The romance of horse ownership can face a major reality check in years like this. “You need to make sure you have the resources to provide for that animal or you could be looking at criminal charges at some point,” said Jackie Kirby with El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff’s deputies do not ask about finances when dispatched to an animal welfare check.
There are cases where horse owners look to give their horses away so they do not face a neglect situation. They may be offering the horse for free, but finding a home for the horse can still be difficult. Others facing the cost of feeding their own animals don’t want more. That includes horse rescues. “That’s a very real issue that we’ve discussed in drought years,” said Terroux-Barret, “What is our cap in drought years on how many horses can we responsibly take in and if adoption ceases– feed.”>
If rescues will not take horses, the options are grim. “Really the only places for those horses to go is to be euthanized or go to an auction where they stand a 90% chance of being shipped for slaughter.”