HOWELL (WWJ) – The drought and excessive heat that began in March has led to a new crisis as we head into fall: A dramatic increase in the number of starving, abandoned horses across the state.

Cindy Ashley, manager of Horses Haven rescue in Howell, said they’re struggling to find a way to care for horses that people can no longer afford to keep as pets.

“The reason that we’ve had such a huge onslaught lately of people applying for their horses to come to us is because of the drought,” Ashley told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Jon Hewett. “Our hay costs have almost tripled and also the grain as gone up 20 percent. Every day we get calls from people wanting to who take care of horses  — they just can’t do it anymore.”

Robin is a 23-year-old Mini Pinto (credit:

With a waiting list of more than 100 animals, the current adoption wait time at Horses Haven now stands at two years.

“We have taken in  quite a few this year but we are at capacity and donations are down because of the economy. We used to get hay donations; we no longer get hay donations,” Ashley said. “We’re just lucky to get volunteers to come out here and help the horses.”

Horses Haven isn’t the only animal rescue operation seeing such demand.  Ashley said there are about 20 similar operations across the state, and all of them are full.

“This winter it’s gonna get really bad. There’s gonna be horses abandoned and it’s not gonna be pretty,” said Ashley. “There was a time when we would have jumped in to take them ourselves, but we just can’t do that anymore.”

For information on adopting or sponsoring a Horses Haven horse, or to make a donation to the rescue, visit this link.  You can also search for an adoptable horse looking for a good home via PetFinder at this link.


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