Photos: Volunteers work tirelessly to ensure safety of animals from Florence's wrath

By Chaffin Mitchell, AccuWeather staff writer
September 21, 2018, 11:01:14 AM EDT


Animals in the path of Florence were rescued by volunteers and taken to safety across America. The animals were transported to neighboring states such as Virginia, Georgia and Tennessee, but also as far as Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The animals were transported due to fear of the storm's disastrous effects plus animal shelters become overcrowded during severe storms because foster families leave the area and many animals get abandoned by people evacuating.

Many large rescue missions took place before, during and after Florence. During Florence, 123 cats and dogs from the Carteret County Humane Society (CCHS) in Newport, North Carolina, were rescued by the Louisiana Cajun Navy after flooding trapped the pets and staffers.

A man from Tennessee, Tony Alsup, rescued 53 dogs and 11 cats from South Carolina shelters that were in Florence’s treacherous path with a school bus that is now being called Noah's Ark.

Lucky Dog Rescue in South Carolina was ready to take their animals to safety when they loaded 50 animals in a van to Washington, D.C.; however, 90 minutes into their six-hour drive, their van broke down. Lucky Dog used social media to ask locals in the area to stop by with pet supplies, water and air-conditioned cars for the pets to rest in.

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(Image via Luck Dog Rescue)


Fifty-five people showed up to the gas station to offer their air-conditioned cars to help the pets cool down. Many of those people also brought supplies.

"A good number of the Lucky Dogs on that van have already found their forever homes -- something that would never have happened if the amazing rescue community had not come together the way they did," Lucky Dog Rescue said on their Facebook page.

(Image via American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)

(Image via American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)

(Image via American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)

(Image via American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)

(Image via American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)

(Image via American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)

(Image via American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)

(Image via American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)

(Image via American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)

(Image via Charleston Humane Society)

(Image via Charleston Humane Society)

(Image via Charleston Humane Society)

(Image via Charleston Humane Society)

(Image via Charleston Humane Society)

(Image via Lucky Dog Rescue)

(Image via Lucky Dog Rescue)

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The Charleston Animal Society pre-evacuated over 100 animals, including over 40 animals from Myrtle Beach shelters. They evacuated animals to Greenville and Charlotte, North Carolina.

"South Carolina had a very good pre-evacuation effort. For example, we have been communicating daily with state emergency management officials in assessing the critical needs of South Carolina shelters, which did a great job of evacuating shelter animals," said Kay Hyman, director of community engagement for the Charleston Animal Society.

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(Image via The Charleston Humane Society)


"We provided veterinary checks for the two emergency pet shelters: Dorchester and Cane Bay," Hyman said.

They also rescued several animals that were abandoned prior to the storm.

While it may seem like their work is done now that the storm has passed, they still have more areas to assist.

"We are awaiting word via state emergency management and national organizations regarding North Carolina's critical needs. For South Carolina, this was the fourth year in a row of Presidentially declared disasters. However, the Charleston area (Lowcountry) was largely spared. We are continuing to assist others in the flooded areas of the state," Hyman said.

Since flooding will intensify over the next week, they ask people who are willing to volunteer to please stay informed on a day-to-day basis as critical needs may arise later.

"We are anticipating continued flooding in the Pee Dee region of the state and are on call to respond with evacuations and support search and recovery, if necessary. All of this is pending on which rivers flood. In addition, we are organizing staff to assist with North Carolina efforts," Hyman said.

Organizations, charities to consider donating to in order to aid animal rescues:
Paws Place Dog Rescue
The Charleston Animal Society
Greenville Humane Society's Amazon Wish List
Lucky Dog Animal Rescue
Atlanta Humane Society
Centre County Paws
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA)
The Humane Society of Charlotte
The Humane Society

According to Hyman, animals that were stray, possibly lost and found, if evacuated, were returned or will be returned to their original communities. The animal evacuated permanently were animals available for adoption prior to the storm.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has supported local agencies during this time with emergency sheltering of approximately 150 animals displaced by the severe flooding caused by Hurricane Florence in Lumberton, North Carolina, and is assisting with animal search and rescue efforts in Robeson County.

“When a storm like Hurricane Florence hits, owned pets and shelter animals can be in as much danger as residents,” President and CEO of the ASPCA Matt Bershadker said.

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(Image via ASPCA)


The ASPCA has also helped evacuate homeless animals from shelters impacted by the hurricane and placed them with animal welfare groups outside of the impacted communities where they can be made available for adoption.

The ASPCA deployed more than a dozen responders to North Carolina and is continuing to work with local emergency management agencies to fulfill additional requests.

“We’re proud to help the North Carolina Deptartment of Agriculture save lives, provide critical assistance to shelters and reunite lost pets with their owners as the area recovers from this disaster," Bershadker said.

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“When catastrophic disasters put millions of people in harm’s way, we know the lives of animals are also at risk, so it’s essential we put resources toward assisting not only human victims, but their pets as well,” said Wendy McColgan and Thomas Amlicke, trustees of the Alex and Elisabeth Lewyt Charitable Trust.

While experts say the height of the rescue mission is almost over, it's never too late to donate, volunteer or adopt these animals in need.

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