In a week there was a deadly and devastating landslide flood Across the province, British Columbuss sacrificed themselves in the disaster to rescue stranded livestock and livestock.
Farmers and community members came together to Abbotsford early last week to rescue about 50 cattle trapped on a WestGen ranch in the wetlands. Sumas Prairie, known as the center of BC’s agricultural industry.
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Rescuers jumped on jet skis, boats, canoes and canoes to push and pull dozens of frightened and often hesitant cows to safety.
In a Facebook post the next day, WestGen praised the rescuers and said all the animals had been removed from the site and fed, watered and dried.
“A heroic effort to get livestock to safety – thanks to all (employees, neighbors and community) for their support,” the company stated.
After this successful high water obstacle course, Brian Mirea and some friends organized a boat rescue effort on November 18.
“I watched all the footage of the animals getting stuck inside the flooded barns and everything,” said SFU business student and Abbotsford resident.
Mirea, also an animal lover, knew she had to help.
“I cannot stand still and let these animals suffer.”
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After making an offer to help on social media, Mirea said they received a lot of calls from people in need of help getting their animals out.
Together, they visited several addresses in the Sumas Prairie floodplain – breaking windows with residents’ permission when necessary – to rescue livestock and livestock left behind.
Mirea told Global News: “It was difficult to see them suffer.
According to Mirea, about 20 cows, five dogs and a cat were brought to safety.
“Just hearing the cat meow and sigh of relief that we did indeed find the cat,” Mirea recalls.
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Connie Joe and Jerry McCauley received a call at 5 a.m. on November 15 about horses on their property near Nicola Ranch on Highway 5A outside Merritt.
Joe said: “When we got there, it was shocking at first.
Interior residents were used to some flooding in their grasslands but had never seen anything like this.
“We saw our horses in the middle of what looked like a lake – all huddled together,” Joe recalls.
Fortunately, the community rushed in to move the herd, which had been trapped for up to 12 hours overnight – in fast-moving floodwaters.
“It was going at least 60 kilometers an hour, I can’t even tell you it was going too fast,” said rescuer Hank Chillihitzia.
“Once we hit it, we were gone.”
Chillihitzia fought the electric current in her motorboat to pull the horses out of the high water.
“My heart would have broken into a billion pieces if we had lost a horse,” said Chillihitzia emotionally.
“My throat is tight all day and I’m tired, cold, hungry, thirsty – but I won’t have anything to eat until those horses are on dry land.”
Joe said of the rescuers: “It never stopped raining and they just stayed put until the bitter end.
With Chillihitzia’s constant encouragement, all 29 horses eventually started moving and made their way up out of the water to higher ground.
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https://globalnews.ca/news/8393291/farmers-volunteers-save-livestock-floods-bc/ ‘I can’t stand to watch’: Farmers, volunteers risk their lives to save livestock trapped in BC floods