Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Mon, March 4 2013 at 4:23 PM, Updated: Mon, March 4 2013 at 9:22 PM
More and more horses are being abandoned as the cost of hay and care continue to rise.
Two quarterhorses nicknamed 'Skinny' and 'Bones' are recovering from extended neglect...
"The mare particularly, has got backbone and hip bones showing." Explained Klamath Humane Society Large Animal Division Director Charlotte Barks. "I'd say her starvation level has been long-term."
Their condition has a big impact on those who love horses, such as caregiver Dawn Keen...
"It hits hard. Why... My question is always, 'why'..."
High costs are part of the answer.
Just a few years ago, quality hay was selling for around 160 dollars a ton in the Klamath Basin.
Horse owners on the Oregon coast are now paying up to 300 dollars a ton.
Barks notes that some horse owners just can't afford that...
"We're seeing more horses just abandoned. Abandoned up in the hills."
Helping 'Bones', the mare, won't be easy.
"This is going to take quite a while for them to come back." Noted Dawn Keen.
"It's going to take a lot of finance, and a lot of time - a lot of extra time." Added Charlotte Barks.
Keen notes there will be special care... "Mainly, loving care."
There are currently 19 horses up for adoption at the Large Animal Shelter on Miller Island Road.
Barks notes that they offer references, as well as rescues...
"If you have a horse, and you cannot find a home for it, if you cannot place it - I wish that you would please call us up so we could advise you as to some other possibilities."
Barks can be reached at (541) 891-7403. Keen can be reached at (541) 891-6240.
Those who can't adopt a horse can still help by making donations.
You can find out more online at: www.klamathlargeanimals.org
Dawn Keen notes that the rescues can be rewarding...
"That's why I'm here. Pretty soon, these guys will be running, bucking, kicking - putting a saddle on them. They'll be living like a horse. And that's the what the reward is."
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.
Lyle's job history is quite colorful. He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.
Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience. "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".
When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.