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Hurricane Irma Evacuees - Pets

Atlanta Humane Society [Facebook]

Homeless pets evacuated ahead of Hurricane Irma will be up for adoption at a special event this weekend at the Atlanta Humane Society's emergency shelter on Market Blvd in Roswell.  Atlanta Humane Society is partnering with Lifeline Animal Project to find new homes for these furry refugees.


Unless you are there it’s hard to appreciate the impact of, first, Hurricane Harvey, and now, Hurricane Irma, on the people of Texas and Florida, plus parts of South Carolina and Georgia. So much devastation, and scarcity of necessities like a place to sleep, food, safe drinking water, power and gasoline.

In advance of Irma, many animal shelters worked to get their four-footed residents out of harm’s way by moving them to other shelters in places like Atlanta. They also wanted to be prepared, if their facility survived the storm in good condition, to have available space to receive animals rescued after the storm.

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency asked the Atlanta Humane Society to be prepared to house up to 1,000 animals. A local property management company offered the use of ahuge 60,000 square foot facility in Roswell that used to be a Home Depot store. It has electricity and running water, and has now been set up to house animals in temporary kennels, with separate areas for dogs and cats.

Early this week they received 300 animals, and prepared for more expected from areas devastated by Irma, plus pets belonging to evacuees who needed a safe place for their best friends. Purina donated pet food, and Pet Smart donated crates to serve as kennels.

But volunteers knew they needed more – so they posted on Facebook, letting everyone know about their urgent need for things like food and water bowls, towels, puppy pads – even toys. Within a day, they were running out of places to store all the blankets, pet beds, cleaning supplies, treats and especially pet toys donated by the pet-loving community. They no longer need supplies, but monetary donations may be made online and are greatly appreciated.

So many organizations are working to assist people and animals affected by these two deadly hurricanes. National and international animal welfare organizations are working diligently to rescue and care for pets abandoned or displaced by the storm, and need our support. But, I am doubly encouraged by tender-hearted people who are willing to help on a local level to make such a huge difference for the animals, when we’re speaking of pets.


Mindy Norton has been “Speaking of Pets” on Alabama Public Radio since 1995.
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