Ranchers, deputies work to get cattle, horses to higher ground

Cattle saved by horseback along I-49

GILLIAM, LA (KSLA) - Deputies with the Caddo sheriff's livestock division are working overtime helping ranchers with flooded property.

The main problem Friday was getting livestock, particularly animals at ranches near Interstate 49, safely to higher ground.

Ranchers say it's not like you can put a leash on them and lead them to the road.

"Normally, the animals will respond to the sound of this truck horn. But today was not the case due to flooding in the area," said Ed Jorden, co-owner of Rocky J Ranch near Gilliam.

"This water kind of got them shook up. They don't know which way to go. They will go out there and stand in that water."

Jorden said only 20 acres of a 700-acre plot he has for his livestock escaped floodwaters. Those rising waters pushed the cattle and horses to the fence line along I-49.

"There were cars coming by and stopping and looking. And, hell, they took off and went to the water and thicket. Now we are trying to tow them back out that water."

Jorden was able to use extra hay to get some of his cattle to safety.

Not so with his horses.

"They are some bucking horses, and they are not gentle," he explained. "They will hit that water and take off."

Gary Bay, a deputy with the Caddo sheriff's livestock unit, says the Rocky J Ranch is not alone in fighting to rescue livestock. "I have had several large cattle companies call me letting us know that they are flooded."

Meantime, Jorden remained certain he was going to save his livestock.

"It might take a while. We might have to be out here swimming some of them. But we will get them out. It's our livelihood."

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