'Project Spirit'

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Tue, May 29 2012 at 4:28 PM, Updated: Tue, May 29 2012 at 4:41 PM

More and more horses are being abandoned and neglected due to a tight economy...and that's having a big impact on an animal sanctuary near Keno.

'Melanie' the horse is a victim of a tough economy.

"Her owner lost his job, the recession - terrible.  The horse was going to be euthanized, because they had no one to take her.  So we took her in - but we've had her for two years."  Says Nadine Hoy of Project Spirit Horse Rescue.

Melanie isn't alone.  Hoy notes that Project Spirit used to rescue about one or two horses a year...

"And then when the recession hit, it went into hundreds.  Literally hundreds."

Chuck Hoy adds that the sanctuary is also trying to keep up with the rising cost of hay...

"We're up to $220, $240 a ton - where this time three years ago, you were paying 90, and 110 dollars a ton."

"People can't afford, so they just don't feed."  Adds Nadine.

When that rises to the level of neglect or abuse, Hoy notes that Project Spirit works closely with law enforcement.  "They will call us if they have a case they cannot handle, and when we have a case that we need help with, we call them and they're right there with us."

While Melanie waits to be adopted, Project Spirit is on the lookout for sponsors.

"Donations are down.  We rely solely on donations."  Notes Chuck.  Nadine adds:  "And I have become a professional beggar."

You can find out more about Melanie online at:  www.projectspirit.org 

'Facebook' followers can find them at 'Project Spirit Horse Rescue'.

Project Spirit works closely with the large animal division of the Klamath Humane Society.

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

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.

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