Horse rescue in high demand

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Horse rescue in high demand

CREATED Apr 11, 2013 - UPDATED: Apr 12, 2013

Reporter: Simone Del Rosario, Web Producer: Laura Kittell

SONOITA, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - A heartbreaking scene in the Arizona desert -- an old racehorse left to die.

“It was not a curable situation. He was always going to be in pain and that's just not acceptable,” James Boudrieau said.

Boudrieau and his nonprofit organization, Hoofprints of the Heart, took Raphael in. He says the decision to put him down was a tough one to make.

A Sonoita family faced their own tough decision Thursday, calling on the horse rescue organization to take their two horses.

“I made a promise a long time ago that I would at least keep her as long as I could and now it's gotten to that point,” Sharon Sinibaldi said. “It's very difficult for myself and my family to say, ‘We’re at the point where we can't take care of them any longer.'”

Nine On Your Side’s Simone Del Rosario found out why more and more horses are being given up or abandoned.

“It boils down to the cost of feed,” Del Rosario said. “Five years ago, a bale of alfalfa would have cost you less than $10. Today, it costs $17 and you're lucky if your horse only goes through a bale and a half a week.”

It can cost about $3,500 to $4,000 a year to take care of a healthy horse. If you have a horse that needs to be put down, that vet bill will run you between $150 and $200; not to mention the cost of burying the horse, which can put you out another $200 to $400.

Many horse owners are finding out these costs are too much to bear, but Boudrieau says abandoning a horse like Raphael is never the answer.

“They lead them out their backyard into the desert and say, ‘see ya,’ and that's not right. That's unconscionable.”

Goldie and Raina are lucky: They'll be taken to Hoofprints of the Heart tonight and hopefully find forever homes before long. 

Arizona Horse Rescue Organizations:

Hoofprints of the Heart

Equine Voices Rescue & Sanctuary

HEART of Tucson

Care for the Horses

Triple R Horse Rescue

Healing Hearts Animal Sanctuary

For more organizations, visit Unwanted Horse Coalition and look under Arizona.