DENVER (CBS4/AP) – The Colorado Humane Society wants horse owners to know that help is available if they can’t afford to feed their animals.

The group issued the reminder Monday following the death of a neglected mare relinquished by its owner in eastern Colorado.

Society spokeswoman Amie Cavarra said owners in need can get help from horse rescue group or her group and also get free hay from the state’s three hay banks. The banks are located in Evergreen, Parker and Grand Junction.

“If you need to get through a month, or if you need to get through the whole winter, it is there for you to have,” Cavarra said.

Hay prices have skyrocketed because of the lingering drought.

The mare died on Saturday of suspected starvation. Its colt is expected to recover and eventually be offered up for adoption through the Dumb Friends League.

The society isn’t releasing any information about the animals’ owner because an investigation is under way.

Butterscotch is getting stronger every day. The 5-year-old horse ended up in the care of the Colorado Humane Society after her previous owner nearly starved her to death.

“Butterscotch could stand to have 150 to 200 pounds before she begins looking like a healthy horse again,” Katrina Schou with the Colorado Humane Society & SPCA said.

In December alone, the Colorado Humane Society took in 20 malnourished horses like Butterscotch. A ton of hay that cost $100 last year has doubled to $200. Stolen hay has also become a major issue.

“It makes feeding an animal appropriately a little cost prohibitive in some instances, especially if people are having a hard time because of the economy,” Schou said. “Do the right thing. These creatures depend on you and pride is no reason for letting an animal get in a depleted condition. There’s help if you just ask for it.

The Colorado Humane Society is always looking for donations of money and hay. For more information, visit the Colorado Humane Society website.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.) 


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