WILLMAR -- Three horses are in the care of the Humane Society of Kandiyohi and Meeker Counties after being surrendered over the weekend by their Kerkhoven owners.
The two mares and one colt were suffering from neglect and in need of veterinary care, Steve Gardner, chairman of the Humane Society Board, said Monday.
Gardner said both mares were thin, and one of them may be pregnant. The colt has a deep wound on one leg and might not survive, he said. "They're under veterinary care right now. We don't know how it's going to turn out for the colt."
The Humane Society is appealing to the public for help with veterinary costs and placement for the horses when they recover.
The bill could reach $1,000 to $1,500 per animal, Gardner said. "We don't budget for this kind of thing. ... We are looking for some assistance in giving them some shelter and care. We could really use some help."
The horses also will eventually need new permanent homes, he said. "We want to get them healthy and then we would hope to place them."
It's the second time in less than two years that the Humane Society has taken over the care of horses whose owners could no longer provide for them.
Last year the shelter helped place 10 horses from Meeker County into foster care after they were surrendered by their owner.
Nationally, the number of horse neglect cases has been on the rise for at least the past five years. Observers believe it has been partially due to the economy but they also cite a downturn in horse prices and sales and rising feed prices.
One of the results has been an increasing strain on rescue organizations that take in horses.
The three horses from Kerkhoven who were surrendered this past weekend came from Swift County, which is out of the jurisdiction of the Humane Society of Kandiyohi and Meeker Counties. The Humane Society of Kandiyohi and Meeker Counties stepped in after the Swift County Humane Society asked for help, Gardner said.
The Humane Society, which operates the Hawk Creek Animal Shelter in Willmar, is looking into the possibility of placing the horses with another rescue organization, but most rescues are full "just like we are," Gardner said.