News 12 @ 11 o'clock -- December 7, 2008
AIKEN, S.C. --- On more than 80 acres of farmland, Aiken Equine Rescue owner Larkin Steele is trying to find homes for all of the horses in her care. The only problem, people are trying to drop off horses faster than she can adopt out the ones she already has.
"I'm finding more and more people are trying to get me to take their animals and I just can't do it. I can't hang up this property with anymore horses that I can't find homes for," said Steele.
Steele is already over capacity with more than 55 horses on the property. She says the increase in calls is leaving her running out of options and looking for more help.
Steele says ever since the economy began to slump, she's had more families trying to drop off horses simply because they can no longer afford them.
"They're people that've held on to horses most of their lives. They've had them for years, they've been their backyard buddies and now it's becoming one extra expense they can't handle," said Steele.
"The cheapest part of owning a horse is the initial investment," said farm manager John Rhodes.
Feed and hay for just one month costs about 175 dollars per horse. Farm manager John Rhodes says it's hard on the rescue too.
The cost of food for 57 horses food sets them back almost 10 thousand dollars.
"Right now, we've taken in a lot of responsibilities in the community that we're having a hard time placing them. We need the community's support to help place these horses," said Rhodes.
"It's just very difficult right now for the horses and it's going to become even worse in this economy," said Steele.
And with the economy expected to get worse before it gets better; it's clear the rescue is going to need a lot more help to jump this hurdle.
The equine rescue of Aiken says they're hopeful that they will find homes for the horses so they can help others. They say they're also looking for volunteers to help with the care of the horses at the facility.
The Equine Rescue of Aiken can be reached at (803) 643-1850.