ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) –  A local non-profit that helps horse owners feed their animals says they’ve seen a huge increase in people reaching out to them since the pandemic started. Animal Protection New Mexico says many horse owners have been faced with tough decisions this year, get rid of their horses or pay their bills.

They say they’ve helped more than 1,000 equines this year, using their equine protection fund which helps horse owners with feed. The non-profit says they’re providing ten times more help to equine owners this year than in years past.

This comes as no surprise to Laurie Micahel, the Vice President of the New Mexico Horse Rescue. Michael says the pandemic has put a major strain on a lot of people’s wallets. She says Walkin in Circles Ranch, in Stanley, has seen an increase in horse surrenders. This month alone they’ve received five horses. She says that’s way up from the on surrender a month they usually get.

“When you have to face paying rent and buying groceries, animals for many people become secondary so they have to find ways to cut costs,” said Michael. Michael says while they’ve seen an increase in surrenders, she’s also surprised by the number of adoptions they’ve been seeing.

She says so far this year they’ve adopted out nearly 30 horses, which she says is great because they were unable to host their annual Adopt-A-Thon, because of COVID. She believes the adoptions are up because more people are home and have more time to care for the horses.

Animal Protection New Mexico is hosting an online fundraiser so they can continue helping people in need. Their goal is $40,000.

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