Volunteers Help Rescue Horses In Harvey Floodwaters

WFAA drone captures horse rescue in Harvey storm aftermath

WHARTON COUNTY -- Word has spread in rural Wharton County that there's hope on the other side of the flood water.

"I'm trying not to focus on the heart break, but what can we do for each other," said Jessica Kopp, a volunteer.

Forty horses are stranded. Kopp is among a group of volunteers putting their own boats in the water to try and find them.

Jennifer Hayley is the rancher responsible for the livestock. She admits she thought the worst of now Tropical Storm Harvey was over. She was wrong.

"Yesterday morning, we woke up to two feet of water in the house," Hayley said.

Hayley says she barely made it out with her two children. She had to leave the horses behind because there just wasn't enough time.

"And I had to leave without them, I might as well have left my kids in that field. It was traumatizing," Hayley said.

Hayley isn't in this alone. Volunteers spent Thursday searching flooded county roads. By late afternoon, the first of many horses are spotted. Some are up to their necks in water.

"The horses, they gave up halfway back, I mean the water was so high. They kept slipping, and I was afraid we were going to go under and be one of the casualties," Hayley said.

By the time they reach dry land, the horses are restless, their riders are exhausted, but they are alive and even returned with more than expected.

A calf appears to be too tired to stand on its own.

"This was something that I've never experienced before. It saved the horses lives. They couldn't have gotten out otherwise," Hayley said. 

Hayley knows she could not do this alone. Tonight, her horses are alive because the community answered her call for help.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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