A drought in Texas and Louisiana has hurt farmers and left hundreds of donkeys abandoned and in peril.
The animals have been seen in large herds, trying to find water and food in the deserted areas. Ranchers reportedly use the donkeys to guard their herds, but those herds have begun being sold off as ranchers are unable to provide for them.
"Hay prices still haven't come down," Mark Meyers told the Associated Press. "And what little grass is growing, people are going to save it for the animals that are going to make them money," he added.
Meyers is the executive director of the Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue. He has been spending time looking for, and rounding up the abandoned donkeys. The Associated Press reports that farmers are merely dropping donkeys off wherever possible, and leaving them to fend for themselves.
Often times, people will "drive a couple counties over, look for a place where there's a bad part on a fence and kick them onto somebody else's property," said Meyers. "I get a call at least once a week from somebody saying, 'I woke up and found donkeys on my property.'"
To date, Peaceful Valley has taken in 1,850 donkeys from Texas, California and Oklahoma; 772 are from Texas alone. Meyers told the AP that he had only been able to find 40 adoptive owners for the donkeys. People cannot afford to feed the animals, and there are more males than females.
Males are consistently more aggressive than their tame, gentle counterparts. Ranchers will use the females to guard sheep, goats or cattle but cannot use males because of their unruliness.
Huffington Post readers have voiced their concern for the animals, asking why it is so easy just to dump them anywhere when times are bad. "They are also living, breathing creatures who did not ask to be brought into this world, but yet we are so willing to just toss them aside," noted rylnne12.