Horse Shelters Feeling Recession’s Pinch

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July 4, 2011; Source: Denver Post | The continuing recession is having a nagging effect on yet another part of the nonprofit sector. The Denver Post reports that horse shelters are receiving an increasing number of calls from people who can no longer care for their animals, while at the same time adoptions and donations are both dropping.

One Colorado shelter, Spring Creek Horse Rescue in Bayfield, has seen calls from people seeking a new home for their horses climb 500 percent over the past two years. “I’m getting 40 calls a week and up,” said Diane McCracken of Spring Creek Horse Rescue. “With the economy the way it is, people are in a crunch. People don’t want their horses to suffer or have to take them to a kill.”

Meanwhile, McCracken has seen donations to her shelter, which ranged from $70,000 to $100,000 in a typical year, dry up. For owners who want to keep their horses, but can’t afford to feed them there’s The Hay Bank. The Colorado nonprofit will provide up to 30 bales of hay for owners in need.  A horse typically eats 10 bales of hay a month, which can cost between $5 and $7 each, and more than some people can afford.  Jeff Petty, who had been in the real estate business, until the housing slump, has relied on The Hay Bank in the past. “It has gotten us through some tough times,” Petty said. “Horses eat a lot of hay.”—Bruce S. Trachtenberg