CADOTT, Wisc. (WEAU) - Two weeks after rescuing three donkeys from a nearby farm, a Cadott family has become a burglary target.
Forty-five bales of hay are missing from the Marion's farm. The bales vanished just before Christmas.
With the long drought this year, the cost of hay has spiked, and now after recent thefts, farmers have locked up their barns and sheds, just to keep animals fed.
Cal and Tammy Marion, who live just north of Cadott said they were on a trip to Stevens Point to rescue a goat when someone came to their home and stole 45 bales of hay from their truck earlier this week.
"We pulled into the yard and noticed our full size Dodge pickup, which always sat here in front of the barn, but it's completely empty," Cal Marion said.
The Marions said the hay was for their three new donkeys, that were rescued from Betty Damerow's farm, earlier this month.
Tammy Marion said the animals were in bad shape, but are now recovering.
"I wanted to cry ... They're our babies. And I didn't want to see them go hungry," she said.
Jordon Martinek, who lives a few miles away, said he had 50 bales of hay and other items taken from his farm too.
"They're thinking that these people are stealing this hay and reselling it, because the value, the price is so high on this hay," Cal Marion said.
This year's drought put local hay prices at around $4.50 for a 40-pound bale, forcing the Marions to return their Christmas presents, to replace what was lost to feed their animals, they said.
"I just want them to know that all they had to do was ask us ... And we would be more than happy to help them," Cal Marion said.
"They didn't steal from us. They stole from these rescue animals that were eating this hay that were getting the nutrients from it."
"If you've got hay out, somehow get it locked up and protected. Because this stuff is disappearing. And it's only going to get worse as the winter progresses."
No arrests have been made. Because the hay is valued under $2,500, it's considered a misdemeanor crime, but still carries a maximum sentence of nine months in jail, and a $25,000 fine.