9 exotic animals die in Herman fire at small business

HERMAN, Neb. (WOWT) – A fire at a farm Christmas morning left a number of animals dead.

It wasn’t cows and pigs affected, but exotic animals.

The fire happened at a business called Critter Close-Ups in Herman, Nebraska, north of Blair.

There’s not much left of a shed on the property after the Christmas morning fire. The owners were able to save some of their exotic animals but lost many more.

“Trying to get the monkeys out. I grabbed the minivan and drove it into the building and tried to get them a hole to get out. But everything was already dead,” said Jodi Osborne.

Jodi Osborne is in the animal education business and the owner of Critter Close-Ups.

A total of five monkeys, named after each member of the 1960′s band The Monkees, didn’t make it. The same for three servals – wild cats native to Africa – and one coatimundi.

“I ran back in but I couldn’t see 6 to 8 inches in front of my face. All I got out was three of my wallabies and one of my cats.”

It’s not yet clear what caused the fire. The family says they were using a wood-burning stove this last week because the other heaters couldn’t keep up with the cold, and the animals needed the shed to be 70 degrees.

Several exotic animals died in a fire at an education center north of Omaha.

Dexter, a capuchin monkey Osborne has had for 11 years, lives in the house so he wasn’t in danger.

But she says he understands something bad happened. She can feel his mood change. And when he’s not tearing into the peanut butter in the kitchen, he entertains others.

“We do a lot of birthday parties. County fairs. Corporate events. Libraries and schools.”

A 9-month-old spider monkey is the newest addition.

Osborne says she will bounce back from this tragedy and rebuild in one way or another.

“I’m going to do whatever I can. We’ll get there eventually.”

She says she’ll have plenty of company along the way with the eight primates in the house.

A Gofundme page has been set up to support the business as they try to rebuild.

Maria Flores

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