Seward County residents help rescue animals after Sunday’s wildfire

As the rain moves out, animals that were evacuated from the path of the wildfires are moving back to their homes.
Published: Oct. 24, 2022 at 5:32 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -As the rain moves out, animals that were evacuated from the path of the wildfires are moving back to their homes. On Monday, volunteers who opened their pens, cages and gave their time to help rescue those animals said they were just doing their part.

The Lancaster County Event Center opened its doors Sunday night to evacuated animals. At one point, there were 30 houses at the fairgrounds.

Jen Fruend, a conservation biologist, was on a drive back from Kansas when she got the message. Help was needed evacuating animals from Sunday’s wildfires.

“That gets crazy and unpredictable fast,” Fruend said. “So that part was scary. You’re constantly watching where the fire line is. I don’t know, the priority was the dogs, right? Just do do what you got to do.”

Fruend was part of a team that rescued more than a dozen German Shepherds and other animals from southwestern Lancaster County.

“I was just grabbing dogs,” Fruend said.

While Jen got the call Sunday, Tim Curtis’ phone went off on Monday.

“We weren’t directly impacted other than the frustration of what am I going to do if I go down there?” said Tim Curtis, Farmer. “It’s too far to go with a tractor and a disc. And I’m sure there were plenty of them there already. And all that. So we just kind of hung back and waited for him to say what, if anything we could do?”

Tim had 80 bales of hay that were sitting in a truck out in Milford. Monday morning, he got the word that hay could make a difference.

“We all all need to do whatever we can when we can and the opportunity presented itself,” Curtis said. “So we said okay, here we go. We do what needs to be done when it needs to be done.”

10/11 NOW looked at the rescue, by the numbers:

  • Twelve different people brought 30 horses to the fairgrounds.
  • A handful of volunteers rescued more than a dozen dogs and several cats.
  • Right now, 11 of those dogs are at the Capital Humane Society.

Fruend said she didn’t think twice about stepping up to help.

“You see animals who didn’t make it,” Fruend said. “It just makes it that much more important to give every other living thing a chance.”

About five horses are expected to return home on Tuesday. Some of the animals are starting to move back home. The Capital Humane Society said they expect the dogs’ owner to pick them up Tuesday.