OMAHA (KPTM)- It's been a bitterly cold winter for Genea Stoops.
"It's still very cold. It's been just to the point that it's blistery cold," said Stoops.
Stoops runs ‘Hooves and Paws Rescue of the Heartland,' a horse and dog rescue shelter.
Stoops said the rising costs of propane have hit animal owners hard, and her shelter has had to step in.
"We are giving dog food to several individuals that are out and need a helping hand due to high propane cost, which are eating many of us up," Stoops wrote on her facebook page.
Stoops said she pays around $4/gallon for propane; that's $3 more than what she's used to paying.
"These people are having difficulties," said Stoops.
Stoops uses propane to heat her house and her animal shelter. Around the end of January, Stoops said she found her propane tank had been vandalized after someone unscrewed an important valve. The tank, used to heat her animal shelter, was completely dry.
"We have an old dog in there," said an emotionally torn Stoops. "She was out of water all day, and it was just freezing cold in there."
Stoops said before she left for work, she checked her dog. Once she came home, she found the dog's water bowl had frozen over.
"Everything was frozen inside," said Stoops.
Even the pipes froze, doing thousands of dollars of damage to the shelter. "We still haven't got the pipes fixed yet because it's just gotten too expensive," said Stoops.
Stoops said it usually cost her $600 to fill up her propane tank, but now, it'll cost her around $2,000.
"At this point-that's all we could do-is fill up half," said Stoops.
Stoops said she's installing security cameras within by Monday, but is sad that it had to go this far. "That's another cost we shouldn't have to absorb," said Stoops.
"We thought about putting locks on it. You can't do that in case if there's a fire," said Stoops.
Stoops said she will continue to keep rescuing animals, no matter how many setbacks get in her way.
Written By: Maureen Wurtz