Minn. Hay Bank aims to help struggling horse owners

7:17 PM, Dec 20, 2012   |    comments
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BUFFALO, Minn, - The only horse that can be found at the home of the Dobbelaire's in Buffalo is atop the weather vane of the pole barn.

In all, 16 horses were taken away from Carol Dobbelaire, who happens to be a member of the Minnesota Horse Council.  She and her husband are both charged with felony animal cruelty.

Earlier this week similar charges were filed in Fillmore County.

Authorities seized 55 of Wilbur Schmoll's horses, donkeys and ponies, making it one of the biggest seizures of its kind in Minnesota.

These cases represent the classic condition of emaciation, starvation as a result of chronic neglect over a period of time," explained Animal Humane Society's Keith Streff, who worked in both cases.

At the Dobbelaire's, two of the horses were found in such terrible condition they had to be put down.

Carol Dobbelaire told authorities that the family was struggling financially and was having a difficult time feeding the horses.

While the two recent cases are extreme, there is now help for those struggling to pay for feed.

"The Minnesota Hay Bank is an outreach program of the Minnesota Horse Welfare Coalition," said the coalition's Stacy Bettison.

You've heard of a food bank, the "Hay Bank" is the same thing, but for horses.

"This is for responsible horse owners who for whatever reason have fallen on hard times and need temporary assistance," explained the coalition's Barbara Colombo.

Hard times can come a little easier these days when you factor in the fact that the price of hay is nearly double what it was this time last year.

The Minnesota Horse Welfare Coalition works to connect hay and feed suppliers with horse owners who are having trouble.

"You know, drop by that farm and ask that person, 'Do you need help? Could you use a little extra help? I know a resource.' We are a resource," Bettison said.

A resource with an overall goal to help prevent starvation cases in the future.

Click here for more information about the Minnesota Horse Welfare Coalition.

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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