The investigator with the Colorado Humane Society says that an example of their caseload can be seen in December's records. During that month alone, they responded to on average one call a day. They drove move than 6,500 miles to conduct their investigations in December.
"We serve 18 counties in Colorado, and we're seeing thin animals come in from almost all of those counties," Schou said.
One explanation for the increase is a shortage of hay and the high price tag that comes with it. Last year, ranchers were paying approximately $8 for a small bale of hay. This year, that price has doubled.
"This year, right now it is between $15 and $18 a bale," Schou said. "People that were on the edge financially may not have the resources to take care of the horses that they have."
While there is help readily available from organizations like Colorado Horsecare Foodbank and The Hay Bank of Colorado too often those calls for help aren't made.
"I think pride and lack of knowledge both complicate this issue," Schou said.
She says that the horse owners need to put their pride aside and do what is right for their horse.
"It is not about pride. It is about caring for something as much as you did when you first got it," Schou said.
Right now the Colorado Humane Society is caring for a dozen horses that were seized by law enforcement or relinquished by their owner. Unfortunately, they are not always about to save the animals.
The Colorado Humane Society is asking people to report suspected cases of animal cruelty before it is too late.
"Before they get in trouble, before we get the phone call that an animal is down or struggling," Schou said.
You can report suspected cases of animal cruelty to the Colorado Humane Society by calling 1-800-249-5121 or visit their website at: http://coloradohumane.org.
(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)