Heat wave leaves Michigan farm animals with little food

Sanctuary for neglected Michigan farm animals struggles to keep them fed due to high heat, no rain

Author: Roger Weber, Local 4 Reporter, @RogerWLocal4, rogerw@wdiv.com
Published On: Jun 28 2012 05:51:43 PM EDT   Updated On: Jun 29 2012 08:32:23 AM EDT
SASHA Farm 2
MANCHESTER, Mich. -

The animals were kicking up dust clouds when coming in for food Thursday at the SASHA Farm Sanctuary.

They found little of it in the barren pastures of SASHA.

"Normally, the animals would be out there grazing on the grass that should be like that. As you can see, it's dried up. There's nothing to eat," said Monte Jackson, owner of the farm.

The farm, near Manchester, Mich. is home to more than 200 farm animals that had been neglected by previous caretakers. More than half of, including horses, cows, sheep and goats graze. They can pull little from the brown, stunted grass.

The farm faces sharply higher prices to stockpile hay for the cold months. Yields are down. The farm's supplier can provide only a third of the usual amount.

"Normally, this time of the year this would be full of hay up to the beam," said Jackson.

Images: Roger Weber's day at the farm

Jackson, a former truck driver, and his wife, Dorothy Davies, a former librarian, have run SASHA since the 1980s. They have never seen it this bad.

"We've committed to these animals top care for them for the rest of their lives," said Davies. "We have to find they hay. We have to find the food for them."

The farm has 25 regular volunteers and runs on private donations. Among the residents is a steer named Jackson who escaped from a Detroit slaughterhouse seven years ago.

Watch: Emus at SASHA Farm Sanctuary

"That was quite a journey to get him out of there," said Jackson. "A lot of public support to get him."

The animals are still healthy, but it's an expensive challenge to keep them that way.

"We're not going to give these animals away or sell them to slaughter. That's not going to happen. So we have to feed them," said Davies.

For information on how to help SASHA Farm Sanctuary, go to www.sashafarm.org.

SASHA Farm 1