Help For Overwhelmed Horse Owners

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Stories of horse neglect are popping up all around us. What is a farmer or horse owner to do if they can't take care of their animals?
Horses as we all know are not like dogs and cats, you can't take them to the pound if you can no longer care for them. So what is a person to do if they find themselves in a situation where their horses are in danger?

Dr. Bob Coleman, extension equine professor at UK says "There are ways to put a cat or a dog to sleep humanely but there are very few options for horses." Coleman says if you chose to do that, the problem then is "how do you dispose of something that could weigh up to 1200 pounds?"

Another option is to find someone to take them. Coleman says there are plenty of sales throughout the area, but if that doesn't work Coleman says "there are a few rescue places, but what I'm hearing around the state is they are full."

And what if the horses are in as dire conditions as some we've seen recently? "Then you deal with a veterinarian and have it put to sleep that's your only option and you then bear the burden of the disposal cost" Coleman says.

The biggest contributor to neglected horses is starvation because people have tried to make feed last longer and we had a rough winter for animals that are outdoors.

Coleman tells us this is it's not just happening here in the Bluegrass, it's happening all over North America and it tends to happen every year at this time.

He says prevention is the real key. "People need to realize when buying a horse that it's a long term investment and they need to have contingency plans in place in case they find themselves falling into a situation like this."

The Kentucky Horse Council has set up a hotline if you are having trouble caring for your horses...It's 1-866-634-0030.

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