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Billings nonprofit worries that the damage from the flood will be too great to recover from



Billings, Montana – Angel Horses, Inc., a Billings nonprofit, was completely destroyed by floodwater on Saturday morning, and they fear that this may cause the organization to permanently close.

The 25-year-old nonprofit hopes that interacting with rescue horses would help unhappy Yellowstone County people find some happiness. Customers include everyone from old individuals to cancer sufferers, and all services are provided without charge to them.

But the land on the western edge of Billings where they keep all of their animals is now a swamp. According to Jonnie Jonckowski, president of Angel Horses, Inc., it might mean permanently ending the initiative.

“It cleared out of here just about as fast as it came in and just left us with the devastation,” Jonckowski said Sunday afternoon. “I’ve been crying since yesterday afternoon, almost off and on all day. It’s just such a tremendous loss.”

Much of Jonckowski’s land was entirely drowned by the water. She resides there, in addition to the animals. Their entire business is run out of her house, which was completely devastated by the flooding.

“So, we lost everything you need to run a business. I cried all day yesterday and I’ll cry today, too,” Jonckowski said. “I really still just feel helpless.”

Jonckowski calculates that the total cost of repairs will exceed $10,000. The majority of her home’s interior was destroyed, along with much of the equipment she required to care for her animals.

Before they are put in the kill pen, they adopt all seven of the animals, giving them a second chance to change people’s lives. The toughest part of the flooding, according to Jonckowski, was seeing her animals struggle.

“They were all trying to get out of the water on the lip, but they couldn’t get there,” Jonckowski said. “To see these guys hurting and suffering after we just rescued them from a horrible situation. Yeah, I hung on the railing and just cried my eyes out.”

According to Jonckowski, every animal would be euthanized for a good reason. Most of them have certain health issues that make it necessary for them to consume particular foods or be kept apart from other animals, which is a big factor in why this disaster’s costs are so high.

“They require special needs and so honestly, this is going to be huge financial burden,” Jonckowski said. “I hope word gets around that Angel Horses is really, seriously in trouble of going away.”

The group has launched a GoFundMe page to aid in its recovery. While donations are always needed, according to Jonckowski, they will be more important now than ever.

“It’s so much bigger than me,” Jonckowski said. “Before it was about me. My career, my life, my whatever. This is about everybody else. It would be a huge loss for the community. A huge loss.”

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