LINCOLN, Neb. -- Horse rescue groups say they are struggling to care for horses abandoned in the drought, and some have stopped taking in more.
Abandonments spiked after the recession hit more than four years ago, but rescue groups say the drought made the problem worse by burning up pastures and sending hay prices skyrocketing.
They say owners who had held on to their horses are giving them up now.
Advocates say no one tracks how many horses are abandoned, but the Washington, D.C.-based Unwanted Horse Coalition estimated the number at 170,000 to 180,000 per year before the drought.
With fewer people buying horses and sanctuaries filling up, Iowa Horse Council President Bill Paynter says, some owners are desperate. He says, "There's no place to go with a horse you can't feed."