SPECIAL REPORT: Rising hay prices hurting horses? - Tucson News Now

Rising hay prices hurting horses?

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

By Heather Rowe

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now)--We see signs showing us the high gas prices on almost every corner. But, there are no signs showing the price of hay. 

Hay prices have doubled in the last few years and the effects are severe. Horses are starving because their owners are caught in a Catch-22.  

Bill Yarbrough with Sierra Vista Hay and Feed hears about on a daily basis.

"In the last year we have had a lot of horse owners come up to us and they say they have reached the point because of the high price of hay and feed they can't continue to own their animals. And couldn't give them away because of the cost of feed."

Yarbrough says he does whatever he can do absorb the cost and to keep it from hurting horses and their owners but he's almost at a breaking point himself. 

Hay starting becoming scarce when many landowners stopped growing it. Some owners opted to grown corn instead because of government subsidies. The dwindling amount of hay had an impact on almost everyone associated with horses.

Horse rescues are overwhelmed. Inundated with phone calls not only from owners reluctantly giving up their horses for their best interest, but from livestock officials who find horses in the desert and have no other place to put them.

Steve Boise, the co-founder of Horse N' Around Rescue Ranch takes those phone calls everyday. He says he feels for horse owners who are put in the desperate position of giving up their animal.  He says horses are like your family, you develop a special kind of love for them. If Boise can't take in the horse, he works tirelessly with other rescues to make sure it is. 

"What do you do with that? Call your local animal control? You can't do that."

The state doesn't have the capacity to take in horses so it relies on rescues to take them. But rescues are still saddled with the burden with no help. They rely on the public for donations to keep them afloat. 

For Boise staying afloat is a challenge everyday.

"How are we going to survive? I don't know."

If you would like to donate or volunteer please go to http://www.horsenaroundrescue.org/.

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