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Maryland Hay Bank: “Food Bank” for Horses

November 30, 2011

MOUNT AIRY, Md. - A new type of food bank is open in Maryland - one which focuses on four-legged needs.

The Maryland Hay Bank in Mount Airy began offering emergency feed for horses about two months ago, says coordinator Jenny Kurtz, with the goal of providing a helping hand to horse owners who have fallen on tough times.

"Job loss, or medical bills, unforeseen vet bills - trying to give them time to get back on their feet, or they re-home the horse."

Those seeking help need to fill out an application, Kurtz says, with hay grants going to private horse owners who also provide information on how they plan to take care of their horse or horses beyond a one-month supply of hay.

About 400 bales of hay have been granted so far, with Kurtz expecting the highest demand during the winter months. Besides providing hay, Kurtz says, they encourage owners to focus on what's best for the animal.

"That's one of the hardest things we're having to deal with. People are considering the horse like a member of the family, but you have to be able to feed it. Horses are very, very expensive to keep."

For those considering a horse as a family Christmas gift, Kurtz suggests doing some research on feed, vet and hoof-care costs. Feeding a horse for a month costs about the same as feeding a dog for a year. The Maryland Hay Bank accepts cash donations, and purchases all its hay locally.

More information on the Maryland Hay Bank is online at gentlegiantsdrafthorserescue.com.

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MD