Drought is driving up hay prices

The severe drought throughout the Valley and the state is expected to send many more animals to local shelters. Workers at a local shelter are now gearing up to see an influx of animals sent there because their owners can no longer afford to keep them.
February 12, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
The drought impacting the Valley is also causing hay prices to rise. Workers at one shelter are now gearing up to take in an influx of animals because their owners can no longer afford them.

Alfalfa hay packed with nutrients is crucial to keeping this gentle horse alive. The malnourished animal had bones jutting out of his ribs. He was rescued only hours earlier.

"We have been getting a lot of calls on horses being underweight and not being fed and what we have found is a lot of people are used to leaving their horses in pasture where they can free feed," said Central California SPCA humane officer, Jesse Boice.

Boice believes the ongoing drought is really expected to hurt local horses.

Normally in the winter months, fresh green grass thrives but this year vegetation is parched. The dry conditions are driving up hay prices.

Feeding each horse costs the CCSPCA $250 a month. Animals rescue crews are now stocking up on hay for the next several months.

"It's no secret that Fresno summers are brutal anyway, so the fact that we are now facing a very serious drought, we are expecting a lot of folks are going to be leaving their horses behind and we are going to get some pretty bad ones in," said Grace Appleton.

The non-profit is accepting donations to help the malnourished animals.