WELD COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Ranchers in Weld County dealing with the floodwaters were able to save dozens of horses and cattle over the weekend.
On Friday the Ochsner family spotted their cattle and some horses that belonged to their neighbor from Copter4 video airing on CBS4 News. After seeing their animals were alive their feelings of uncertainty changed to something closer to hope.
“It was a relief because we could see where they were and they were alright,” rancher Kevin Ochsner said.
The images of animals surrounded by fields of flood water were heartbreaking for anyone to watch, but the feelings were much stronger for the families who have built their lives around them.
“They are our livelihood, they are everything and you just want to make sure they are taken care of,” rancher Raquel Mulkey said.
Getting them home safe would be their next challenge — one that the group of farmers and ranchers from the area took head on beginning on Saturday.
“One neighbor called another neighbor and before long we had a yard full of pickups and trailers,” Ochsner said.
The result on Saturday was that nearly a dozen horses were taken to safety. Together they were able to reach them by boat and then move them to higher ground. They were then taken from near Greeley to an area outside of Milliken.
The owner of the horses was too shaken up to talk, but Mulkey, her close friend, knew it was an important moment.
“She was just crying … it’s very emotional, very emotional,” Mulkey said.
The rescue was not over yet. Because it was so late in the day by the time they were done rescuing the horses, the same group had to come back for the rest of animals on Sunday, including about 70 of Ochsner’s cattle.
“You just don’t know; and you send them out there and you just don’t if they are going to come back,” Mulkey said.
The group was happy to report they successfully rescued all of the animals.