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Wisconsin rescue team saves animals in North Carolina flood waters

Posted at 5:36 PM, Sep 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-21 13:21:35-04

A group of volunteers from Wisconsin helped rescue 10 horses from rising water in North Carolina and they’re also working to reunite families with their pets stranded after Hurricane Florence. 

A group of certified first responders called the “Operation Bring Animals Home Search and Rescue Team” voluntarily deployed to areas hit by natural disasters to reunite families with their pets. 

Those 10 horses would have likely died if it wasn’t for the animal rescue workers from Southeast Wisconsin. 

“There were a couple that were up almost to their neck in water with no access to food or dry land at all. So they were just waiting for us to come get them,” said animal rescue volunteer Olivia Spakowicz. 

A Pewaukee native, Spakowicz and her group packed up and left for North Carolina on Sunday. 

“When they say the word disaster. That is truly the only way to describe it. It's destruction of property of life that people built,” she said. 

The work is difficult, as venomous snakes and a lot of debris fill the flood waters. The work can also be emotional.

“They're so scared, and they're so dependent on us to help them so it just feels really incredible,” Spakowicz said. 

A police department offered them a motorboat to help them search flooded areas. The team goes around homes and farms finding dogs in their crates as the water rises, or shaking on top of a dresser with inches of airspace left. 

The team works closely with other rescue groups and also gets requests directly from panicked residents. 

“They actually called us and said our dogs are trapped in our home. They're in their crates and we were actually able to get to the edge of the water, onto the dry land and get them reunited with their owners safely,” Spakowicz said. 

No word on if they will bring any animals back to our area to be fostered. The goal is to return the animals to their families or to rescue organizations in the area. 

If you would like to learn more about the rescue team, click here.