TOMAHAWK - Humane societies care for as many dogs and cats as they can, but what about larger animals-- like cows, or horses? That's where Bill Blemke comes in.
"Some of the situations we take these cattle out of, and horses... No feed, they have no dry place to lay, they're laying in their own feces… for months. No water. It's terrible," said Blemke.
It's clearly illegal to treat a dog or cat that way. Farm animals though, don't have many advocates. Bill Blemke couldn't believe the "Dairy State" had no rescue group for abused cows, so he started one. For now he works with family farmers to place animals he's rescued.
"If Bill didn't bring him I'm sure he would have been dead," said Vi McCrystal, referring to the cow leaning into her to have his face rubbed, When he came to us his knees were bulging, he just really was in a bad way," McCrystal care takes and helps rehabilitate animals for Cattle Rescue Inc.
Bill wants to stop that kind of abuse in the first place. He feels every animal should have a chance at a healthy productive life. Once these animals are healthy, most will go back to agricultural use. To make this rescue work though, Blemke needs some serious fundraising.
"We need $500,000...Times are hard, I know people, it's hard for them to open their pocket. But there's also people out there with big hearts that do have so money, so they might be able to help," he said
In Bill's mind, animal abuse is not just wrong, it's wasteful. He wants his rescue to serve as many purposes as possible.
"There's a lot of hungry people in the state of Wisconsin. If we can take them [older dairy cows] just for hamburger for the food pantries it'll put a big chunk into the economy just for those people alone," he said.
Bill wants high school students interesting in farming to get hands on experience caring for the animals. He also wants to repurpose horses and other animals rescued to therapy barns.
NORTHWOODS - Prescription drugs play an important role in our health.
They help us recover if we're sick, cope if we have a chronic condition and help manage pain.
But those drugs can expire or just stay in the back of our medicine cabinets for months or years.
And if those drugs get into the wrong hands—such as toddlers or abusers—that's a problem.
That's why many local police and sheriff's departments participate in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back program.
It's run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Saturday was National Take-Back Day.
"We're keeping the controlled substances in the hands they're supposed to be in, especially with the pill epidemic now, it's important that these stay out of the hands of people that are abusing them," said Minocqua Police Officer Matthew Tate.
Several area police departments hosted drop-offs Saturday.
You can drop off prescription or over-the-counter pills, ointments, patches, non-aerosol sprays, vials and pet medications. You cannot bring in inhalers or aerosol cans, and you cannot drop off illegal drugs or needles.
All the drugs are brought to the state Department of Justice where they will be incinerated.
That's better than just flushing them or throwing them out in the trash.
"It's very important that it's not getting into our ground water is the main thing," Tate said. "We just don't want people dumping them in toilets or in their garbage."
If you have prescription drugs you want to get rid of safely, don't worry if you missed Saturday's opportunity. Many area police stations have drug drop-off bins in their lobbies, so you can drop them off any time of the year.
MINOCQUA - You know summer in the Northwoods will soon be here when seasonal businesses start opening up again.
Wildwood Wildlife Park opened up Saturday in Minocqua.
Hundreds of people rushed to the gate today to see all different types of animals, some local and some exotic.
"We are so busy today but it's a beautiful day to come out to Wildwood," said the park's director Judy Domaszek. "This is one of our baby aoudads, it's an African sheep, and as you can see in the background there are many people busy playing with the baby goats, and the sheep and the pigs and the tortoises, and they're just enjoying their day."
On Saturday the park had a giraffe feeding.
Workers also have been renovating and expanding the park.
The park has many new animals on the way, including some baby animals that were born there.
"The mouflon sheep are new, we've got some new reptiles, we have some new babies that we're going to have down in the nursery in a little while," Domaszek said. "We actually had a baby badger born here at the zoo. And we have a baby kangaroo. Those guys are all coming down when it's safe to come down."
Wildwood is open every day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Then after Memorial Day the park stays open till 5:30 p.m. for the summer.
MINOCQUA - Lakeland and Antigo generally square off as rivals in Great Northern Conference competition. But on Friday, nearly a week removed from the prom shootings in Antigo, Lakeland wanted to show that it was on Antigo's side.
"It's hard to react to something like this, because you want to be concerned, and you want to help, but it's hard to know how to help," said Maggie Laurence, a Lakeland sophomore and Student Council member.
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