Surviving the drought; it’s become the concern of many across the state.
Hay prices are sky rocketing.
"Its high, in the ten to twelve dollar a bail range right now," Veterinarian, Dr. Branden Shafer, said.
Combine the drought with a struggling economy and the picture can be grim.
"Depending on the level of the malnourishment of the animal, they may or may not face criminal charges, could be seizure of the animals," Sgt. Terry Bridge, with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, explained.
Starving livestock is an all too common complaint being fielded by sheriff's offices and animal advocates.
Horse rescues across the state are attempting to step in earlier.
"We are getting slammed with phone calls,” animal advocate, Kathy Hamm, said. “As of yesterday we had twenty five individuals wanting help, the day before it was ten, and here it is eleven o'clock and we've already had ten phone calls asking for help,”
Hamm is the executive director of Dream Catcher Therapy Center and End of the Trail Horse Rescue. She worked to start the first hay bank in the Grand Valley.
It’s not just a place to get free hay. It’s a way to prevent animal suffering and starvation.
"Especially now in the winter, they need a good hay source to stay warm and comfortable," Dr. Shafer said.
But even at the hay bank, volunteers have found themselves rationing the feed.
"We desperately need donations,” Shafer explained. “As usual, there seems to be a lot more demand then we have supply."
Since the hay bank is a non-profit, Hamm is also looking for help from the government in the form of grants.
But even if her organization can't provide enough hay, it'll still work to find new homes for horses whose owners can't afford them.
"We can't take every horse that's available,” Hamm said. “We don't take possession of the horse but we will try to find good permanent homes for the horses if we can."
Like other advocates and horse rescues in Western Colorado, Hamm says her organization is all about what's best for the animals.
"It’s very costly to own a horse so please think before you buy, or come see our rescue and get one of our rescue horses,” Hamm said.
Dr. Shafer adds, "I really want people to step up and realize that to have a horse you have a responsibility, a responsibility sometimes to give up luxuries that you enjoy from day to day to make sure those animals have good food and water in front of them."
Donating to the hay bank does qualify you for a tax right off.
For more information on the Dream Catcher Therapy Center and End of the Trail Horse Rescue, go to http://dctc.org/site/.