Animal shelter overloaded with starving horses

FRESNO, Calif.

The shelter is struggling to come up with ways to pay for the feed to save these horses and the money to cover vet bills, which are high since some of the horses have several injuries.

The Madera Animal Shelter is concerned the problem is getting worse as winter approaches.

Tiffany Beechinor spends several hours a day watching over the underweight and injured horses. "We've been feeding them a lot and they're already starting to look better," Beechinor said.

In just three months 19 horses have been seized or rescued by the shelter. One was recently found wandering a neighborhood in Madera County.

Another was found in a Chowchilla field, the shelter said they were likely freed by desperate owners.

Around the same time, five other horses were rescued from an abandoned home in the Madera Ranchos.

"It was a house going through foreclosure," Officer Beechinor said. "They were pretty skinny, they had like two small pens made."

In September, 12 horses, the shelter's largest recent rescue, were brought in from a home in O'Neals.

"It's a tremendous challenge to our department," said the shelter's director Kirsten Gross. "We've had a serious reduction to staff, serious reduction to our budget."

Gross said the only way to keep up the care for these ill equines is with help from the public.

In the most recent case, the shelter cannot find the owner who abandoned the five horses in the Madera Ranchos so once those horses are healthy they will be adopted out.

But the shelter still needs help for the other 14 horses it is caring for. They're also monitoring nearly 15 other horses that may need to be rescued soon.

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