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Sarpy County Fair addresses concerns over Animal Scramble

Posted: 12:50 PM, Jul 31, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-31 22:42:50Z

The Sarpy County Fair opens its doors Tuesday. 

The county fair is a longstanding tradition with more than 60,000  expected to attend. 

One of the scheduled events includes the Animal Scramble which is set for August 4th at 1 p.m. 

Fair organizers release chicks, ducklings and young rabbits into the rodeo arena for children to take home. The children are divided into age groups and released into the arena In different rounds. Each child gets to pick an animal of their choosing to take home. 

The Sarpy County Fair Board says the tradition is decades old and allows children to learn to care for pets and encourages them to become involved in 4-H. Participants are not required to take home the animal and an announcement is made before the scramble instructing families, if they are unable to accept the animal, staff will be on hand to take over care. 

The Nebraska Rescue Council wants to raise awareness about the practice. The council says, "the scramble is meant to be fun, but it is terrifying and confusing for animals. These animals are prey animals and being chased triggers their fight or flight mechanisms - horrifying for the animals and dangerous for the children." 

The Sarpy County Fair Board says the animals participating in animal scramble are all well-cared for. Animal care packages are also provided to families in need of assistance. These are made possible through generous donations. 

The animal scramble is for children 12 and under.