Natural disasters are a terrible thing and to make it worse on shelter in the hurricane’s path says that it will euthanize animals if it can’t find then homes before the hurricane arrives…
Many people and animals evacuated way ahead of the expected landfall of Hurricane Florence and seek shelter in the Burgaw Middle School in Burgaw N.C.
Organizations that are animal-friendly say that pets must be considered in any plans for evacuation too, and that is because shelters, like the Burgaw shelter, will reach full capacity and begin to make these decisions to euthanize.
As Wednesday morning came the immense force of nature called Hurricane Florence came closer and closer, it was for me to go!
Raffee started loading the nine-foot van, nicknamed the “Fluffy-bus”, there were about 24 cats and dogs, that could be saved from a terrible fate or euthanasia!
There are, sadly, many abandoned pets, either left or abandoned in the run-up to the oncoming hurricane, tensions were high.
Thankfully these dogs were moved to safety as Hurricane Florence bears down on the East Coast!!
The shelters really were filling up super fast!
Jewel Horton, manager of Pender County Animal Shelter said:
“We are avoiding euthanasia at all costs …That’s why we’re begging for assistance.”
If you ever evacuate because of a hurricane or other disaster, take your pet with you. Unfortunately, not all evacuation shelters accept pets. Make a plan and practice it with them. This will make it easier if you ever have to make a run for it together. #NatlPrep #Florence pic.twitter.com/J9SxH0AaCB
— Readygov (@Readygov) September 7, 2018
The 20 or so dogs and cats in Raffee’s van that are bound for a rescue group in Pennsylvania are some of the animals that now won’t face euthanasia.
Lamacchia, who is president of the Burgaw, N.C.-based Humane Society said:
“For us, animals are more important than things …Things can be replaced — anything can be replaced, but you can never replace a life, whether it’s a person or an animal.”
Killing animals is the last thing the shelter staff wants to do, Horton said.
“People are fleeing this state like no tomorrow …There’s just not people here to take these animals on.”
One of the most important things now is to ensure that the shelter clears out as many animals as they can before the storm hits, then as it hits, Horton expects her shelter to be even more overrun…
“When we start hitting recovery mode, space is going to be an issue …Getting people here to help us is going to be an issue.”
Organizations like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society of the United States have become more even more aggressive about responding to these kinds of disasters, especially after Hurricane Katrina.
There was one poll taken showing that 44 percent of people who chose not to evacuate did so because they didn’t want to leave their pets behind.
Sadly though many animals were still abandoned and more than 100,000, according to the Louisiana SPCA.
Dick Green, head of the ASPCA’s disaster response unit, said:
“We can’t stress enough how important it is to incorporate pets into evacuation plans to keep families together and pets safe”
In another statement, Green encouraged animal shelters to plan ahead:
“It’s imperative that animal shelters take proactive, necessary measures, and collaborate with other agencies if necessary to keep the animals in their care safe during emergency situations”
The Local Humane Society is really stuck for cash, and Lamacchia is concerned that Hurricane Florence is going to further deplete their resources.
“This storm is going to wipe us out …If we don’t get people to step up and foster and donate, it’s really going to limit our efforts.”
Raffee drove and drove, before pulling in for a break at a gas station between North Carolina and Pennsylvania, and the dogs had a welcome break too.
One particular pup he took out of his cage, called Neil Young Jr., and on the bumper of the fluffy bus he held him in his arms, cuddled together, both homeless but safe!
Rescuing animals in these kinds of natural disasters is something we are slowly learning to do better and better, but there is still a long way to go…