For one county the economy is taking a toll on the livestock that eventually leaves the animals abandoned without food or water. Lately, the Elbert …
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For one county the economy is taking a toll on the livestock
that eventually leaves the animals abandoned without food or
Lately, the Elbert County Sheriff’s Office is dealing with the
left-behind livestock in a big way. Undersheriff Shayne Heap said
people who have lost their homes many times leave their livestock
behind because they have no way of taking care of them. This
abandonment is not only affecting the animals but also the Sheriff
Heap said the livestock left behind end up being taken care of
by the Sheriff’s Department. The animals are usually left at the
home while deputies come out and feed and manage the animals or
they are moved to the fair grounds and taken care of there.
Heap said this type of work gets difficult because the money to
feed them and the manpower is not in the department’s budget.
“We found that instead of moving them or stressing them, we
leave the animals there at the home and the guys go out and care
for them everyday and water and feed them,” Heap said.
But this month in an effort to help the Sheriff’s Office, one
Elbert Country resident stepped up to the plate by donating 50
bales of hay to the department.
Rod Denning is the owner of Tumbleweed Tractor Service in Kiowa
and also operates a feed business in Franktown. His donation is
being used to care for abandoned and neglected livestock in the
county. Heap said the donation has truly helped the Sheriff’s
Office and the animals.
“Rod is a really good guy and when I told him about the animals
I asked him if he knew there was a place where I could find
discounted bails of hay,” Heap said. “But instead he ended up just
donating the hay to us.”
Luckily for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office abandoned
livestock or any other domesticated pet is not an issue. Lieutenant
Attila Denes with the Douglas County Sheriff’s office said the
department has not seen any kind of an increase in animal rescue in
the county due to the economy or foreclosures. He said out of the
180 evictions done on the county this year, there have been only
two or three times when a pet has needed a home.
The Buddy Center in Castle Rock is also not seeing an increase
in pets surrenders due to the economy. Michelle Ray, a spokesperson
for the Buddy Center, said pets are constantly being surrendered,
but there is no increase from this year compared to last year.
“People who give up their pets do not tell us directly is it
because of the economy,” she said. “But we are still receiving pets
and we are always in need of volunteer help.”
But in Elbert County, the left behind animals are a direct
result of the economy. Heap said while the animals are being taken
care of, the owners are contacted. If the owners can not keep the
animals, the Sheriff’s Office then finds another home for the
“One good thing is that we never have a problem finding homes
for these animals,” Heap said. “Someone is always willing to take
them and take care of them. Even the old, beat down animals.”
But there is another option other than abandonment for people
who can no longer care for their horses. Zuma’s Rescue Ranch in
Douglas County rescues horses and rehabilitates them back to good
health if needed. Some of the horses are adopted out to new
families and some are trained in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and
are paired with troubled children or families.
Owner and founder of the ranch, Jodi Messenich said because the
ranch is a non-profit organization, people who surrender their
horses are asked to contribute either financially or through
volunteer work at the ranch to help take care of their horse and
“We always need volunteers and donations,” she said. “I have a
146 acres and there is no physical limit to the number of horses I
can take in. It’s the financial limits that causes us not to have
as many horses as we could.”
For more information on the Zuma’s Rescue Ranch, visit www.zumasrescueranch.com.
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