Hurricane Cowboy rescues abandoned horses from Florence floodwaters

Hurricane Cowboy leads two abandoned horses from the floodwaters in the wake of Hurricane Florence. Photo by Janet Morgan/Myrtle Beach Herald
The Hurricane Cowboy, Patrick McKann, leads two horses to safety who were left behind in rising floodwaters in the wake of Hurricane Florence. Photo by Janet Morgan/Myrtle Beach Herald.

By Kelly Avellino | September 25, 2018 at 6:42 PM EST – Updated September 26 at 6:01 AM

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) — He’s been named the “Hurricane Cowboy.” Patrick McKann, of Henrico, is leading an effort to rescue horses, cows and other farm animals left suffering in the flood-torn Carolinas.

McKann said so far it’s been a trying mission, but his crew has saved many animals from suffering, including three horses, two donkeys and countless dogs and cats.

McKann and his rescue partner, Travis Holstein, teamed up with other livestock animal rescuers from Texas, once they hit the worst areas of the Carolinas. The “Hurricane Cowboys” use an air boat to reach livestock caught in high water. McKann also has multiple trucks filled with supplies like feed and medical kits, donated from the Richmond area, running in and out of the Carolinas.

“We had to lasso two wild donkeys,” said McKann. “We’ve seen pigs. We’ve seen cows. We’ve seen horses, chickens, ducks,” said McKann.

In photos from the Myrtle Beach Herold, McKann and Holstein mustered through the water — at times up to their chest — to lead three starving horses to refuge in Buscksport, South Carolina.

“They were going to drown if we didn’t get to them,” said McKann.

Hurricane Florence is McKann’s second rescue mission. During Hurricane Harvey last year, McKann sent down seven supply-loaded trucks to Texas. He stayed in the state, rescuing livestock for a month.

McKann said many animal rescue groups are able to help with dogs and cats. However, less volunteers are equipped to help larger stock animals. That’s why the Hurricane Cowboys say they’re determined to reach every animal possible, left in Florence’s wake.

“We have good days. We have bad days. We’ve seen a lot of death,” said McKann.

McKann fears the worst flooding may still be to come.

“The rivers are not due to crest until Thursday or Friday,” he said.

That’s why McKann is already sending word for more donations from Richmond, and plans on making repeat trips hauling more trailers full of supplies, for as long as it takes.

“The people back home are already getting ready to reload a semi-trailer,” said McKann. “I’d like to thank everybody back home for their support.”

Support Mckann’s rescues at his GoFundMe page »

Read more of this story, view video report »

2 thoughts on “Hurricane Cowboy rescues abandoned horses from Florence floodwaters”

  1. THANK-YOU! Isn’t it illegal to leave behind an animal????? And what happened to Smithfield’s Slaughterhouse in Tar Heel NC? ANIMAL ABUSE? Any charges being brought against them????? Sandie


    1. Sadly food animals are not considered as sentient beings or life forms worth caring about. Plus they are probably insured and will get a huge payout over these “losses”.

      Not to be preachy, but this is why more and more people every day are opting for a vegan (or plant based) diet.


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