In Texas, a record drought is reverberating beyond farms and tourism-- it's rippling through to the police.
In response to high hay prices, people are letting their donkeys loose because they can't afford to feed them. And in Dallas, the police are being taken off their regular duties to catch and corral stray donkeys, because the county sheriff is responsible for securing loose livestock.
Patrick Bonner, senior sergeant at the Dallas Country Sheriff's Department said it's causing a strain on his office's budget.
"It's costing approximately $8 a day per donkey to feed...Also, we do have to.. pull deputies off the street to...go pick up livestock," he told Here & Now's Robin Young.
Inmates from the Department of Corrections come by on a regularly basis to help care for the donkeys, and a donkey rescue group called Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue recently took 20 donkeys off the hands of the Dallas police, leaving 10.
Bonner says he hopes that people will think twice before buying a donkey next time.
"We're hoping that people will really just take the time and figure out can I afford this animal before I purchase them and bring them home," Bonner said.
"When they're turning them loose like that they're turning that back on the taxpayers."
- Patrick Bonner, senior sergeant at the Dallas Country Sheriff's Department
This segment aired on January 25, 2012.