JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The director of the Northeast Arkansas Humane Society said Wednesday they've seen an increase in the number of animal abuse cases involving horses.
"This year we've gotten a lot more calls about horse neglect," Margaret Shepherd said. "For whatever reason, there seems to be more of that this year than in the past years."
Shepherd said they're getting phone calls about cases to investigate every day.
"Sometimes people aren't properly feeding their horses because maybe they've had a loss of income," Shepherd said. "So, they're unable to buy hay. Sometimes it's because people don't understand a horse's nutritional needs. Particularly during the winter months."
Shepherd said they've had six cases this year where they were forced to remove the horses from a property.
"We get many, many more calls than that," Shepherd said. "Most times those can be fixed by neighbors donating hay to people or getting a vet out to check their horse."
Shepherd said one major problem is people don't seem to be informed on how to properly care for a horse.
"I think people really enjoy having horses," Shepherd said. "They enjoy watching horses in their pasture, but may not understand their nutritional needs."
Shepherd said a horse's diet should consist of 90% forging, which is hay or pasture grass; and 10% grain.
During winter, when the grass dies it can become a problem because hay is now a priority.
An owner could spend anywhere from $600 to $800 on hay for a horse.
However, the amount of money spent will depend on the size of the horse and how many horses the owner has.
Shepherd also stated that if one horse is thin and the others seem healthy, the thin horse may have problems with its teeth and needs to see a vet.
The NEA Humane Society is set up primarily for small animals.
Shepherd said since they started getting phone calls about abused horses they've been making adjustments, but really need the public's support to continue caring for these animals.
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