Let’s not forget our animals!

Hurricane Florence is no picnic.

Here’s the latest headline regarding this significant hurricane taken from the BBC News website at 14:30 yesterday afternoon.

US East Coast residents are running out of time to flee before Hurricane Florence hits the region as soon as Thursday evening, officials warn.
The storm was downgraded to category three with maximum sustained winds of 120mph (195km/h), but officials say it is still “extremely dangerous”.
Up to 1.7 million people have been ordered to evacuate across South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.

All our thoughts are especially extended for the thousands of cats and dogs, and many other species I don’t doubt.

So it seemed especially timely and appropriate to republish a recent item that appeared on Mother Nature News.

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Helping pets in Hurricane Florence’s path

How rescue groups and shelters are staying ahead of the big storm.

Mary Jo DiLonardo
MARY JO DILONARDO
September 11, 2018
Button is one of dozens of animals rescued by the Greenville Humane Society from shelters along the South Carolina coast. (Photo: Greenville Humane Society)

When people are in the path of a massive storm, they prepare their homes as best they can and get out of its way. For pets and strays, the situation is more complicated.

As Hurricane Florence bears down on the Carolina coast, many in the animal community are already helping get these animals out of harm’s way. Shelters and rescue groups hundreds of miles away are taking in animals from shelters that are directly in the storm’s path. Fosters and adopters are stepping up to take local animals so there’s room for more dogs and cats affected by the hurricane. Others are sending donations.

As of early Tuesday, the Greenville Humane Society in South Carolina had already accepted 40 dogs and cats from coastal Carolina shelters and they are expecting another transport of 20 to 30 more by the end of the day, Julia Brunelle, social media and marketing manager for the humane society, tells MNN.

“We don’t know, in the coming weeks, how many more we’ll be taking in; it depends on the path of storm,” she says. “We expect a heavy influx at the end of the weekend and early next week.”

All three of the humane society’s buildings are at capacity with about 15 overflow animals housed in wire crates. They’ve lowered adoption rates, hoping to encourage people to take home current residents to free up room for animals that will be displaced by the storm.

“A lot of people are always waiting for the right time to adopt,” Brunelle says. “Now is the right time for the animals and when it is the most needed and when you’re going to do the most good.”

A van filled with animals arrives in Greenville from coastal Carolina shelters. (Photo: Greenville Humane Society)

At the Pender County Animal Shelter in Burgaw, North Carolina, they’re hoping to empty the shelter to make room for animals in need. As a result, all adoptions are free.

“After Hurricane Matthew in 2016, we took in over 100 animals at this shelter. We only have 100 kennels total, so being empty pre-storm helps us have space for the post-event response because we cannot turn animals away,” shelter manager Jewell Horton tells MNN. “If we hit capacity we have to euthanize for space, which we do not want to do!”

The shelter has already had calls for more than 50 dogs and cats that they are trying to help get out of the hurricane’s path; they’ve also taken in three miniature horses already. Shelter workers are picking up a pony and goats that were flooded out during Hurricane Matthew, knowing they won’t make it through this storm either.

Making Long-term plans

The Atlanta Humane Society took in 35 dogs and cats from Carolina shelters. (Photo: Atlanta Humane Society)

So far, some animals have traveled as far away as Atlanta. The Atlanta Humane Society has already picked up 35 dogs and cats that were in shelters in the path of Hurricane Florence. A week ago, they took in 35 animals that were in the path of Tropical Storm Gordon. If past storm history is any indication, they’ll likely take in many more.

Teams from Best Friends Animal Society are also on the ground, working to move animals from shelters in harm’s way to less-crowded facilities that are out of the hurricane’s expected reach. The group is also looking at the long-term picture, realizing what rescue efforts will be needed long after the storm is passed, says Kenny Lamberti, Best Friends Southeastern regional director.

“We learned a lot post (Hurricane) Irma and Harvey and even as far back as Katrina,” Lamberti tells MNN. “A lot of people and a lot of animals get stuck. We’re creating temporary shelter situations, hoping we don’t need them, but you never know.”

These shelters will house dogs and cats for an extended period of time until they hopefully can be reunited with their families.

How you can help!

A Best Friends team transports animals during Hurricane Harvey. (Photo: Erica Danger/Best Friends Animal Society)

If you want to assist animals displaced by the storm, there are plenty of things you can do. Rescue groups and shelters suggest monetary donations, first and foremost. That way they can buy what they need and don’t have to worry about storage, especially if shelters are damaged by the storm. Many shelters and rescue groups also have online wish lists.

There is at least one Facebook group where people can post what they need or the specific ways they are able to help, with offers of transport, fostering, supplies or anything else that might come up once the storm hits.

If your local shelter is making room for hurricane-displaced animals, you may want to consider adopting or fostering so they can make space in their kennels for more animals in need.

Pender County’s Horton points out that all sorts of help is needed, from adoptions to donations.

“We need animals out,” she says. “Donations will be hugely needed for post event care, especially for caring for the animals after the storm.”

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I know that all of you will side with Jeannie and me when we say that our hearts go out to these animals.

If any of you come across rescue groups and shelters who are seeking donations then do let me know. For I will publish the details here on Learning from Dogs.

13 thoughts on “Let’s not forget our animals!

    1. The latest from the BBC, as of 3 hours ago, is: “Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a category two storm as it approaches the US but officials still warn of a “disaster at the doorstep”.” Fingers crossed everyone is safe!

  1. We can not stress enough about the care for animals. So many pets get left behind to fend for themselves. Then there is the wildlife. Thanks for all the shelters being proactive. Many prayers for all people and animals during this disaster and recovery.

    1. One hopes that the wildlife have coping methods that have evolved over many years. But not so for our domestic friends, I fear! Let’s hope that the publicity of this storm generates donations and practical assistance from all over America!

  2. Thank you for your blog post reminding everyone to take care of the animals during a natural disaster. I live 200 miles inland in North Carolina, and we’re preparing for tropical storm winds, widespread power outages, and up to 12 inches of rain. My prayers are with the people much closer to the coast who are facing total devastation from the storm surge and 72 hours of pounding wind and rain as the hurricane is expected to sit over the same area for maybe 36 hours. This storm is massive.

    1. Oh Janet, dear person, thank you for taking what must be precious time for you just now to leave a reply to today’s post. Please, you and your family and your beloved animals, be very safe!

  3. Wonderful reminders.. And thank you to all those who rescue animals in crisis.. Many thanks for sharing Paul and our thoughts are with all affected by these storms.. ❤

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