Sept. 8, 2017 – In anticipation of Hurricane Irma, the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is actively engaging with agencies throughout the southeastern United Statesto assist with pre-evacuation, relocation, and emergency sheltering efforts. At the request of the Beaufort County Animal Services, the ASPCA has deployed a team of responders to relocate approximately 600 unowned shelter animals to a 40,000 square-foot emergency shelter established by the ASPCA in Duncan, S.C., which will serve as a safe space for displaced shelter animals as shelters and rescue groups prepare to make space for lost pets following the storm. The ASPCA is expecting to relocate and evacuate hundreds of unowned shelter animals from neighboring Jasper County to the ASPCA emergency shelter over the next few days.
The ASPCA will also be supporting its partners at Miami-Dade Animal Services by assessing needs and providing resources as local agencies prepare for the catastrophic storm. In addition, the ASPCA Relocation team is coordinating multiple requests to transport hundreds of unowned shelter animals throughout Florida, Georgia and South Carolina to safer grounds where they can ride out the storm.
“As we continue our efforts in Texas to help pets and their owners displaced by Hurricane Harvey, we are expanding our efforts to provide much-needed resources and support to shelters and agencies along the coast as they prepare for the impending life-threatening storm,” says Tim Rickey, vice president of ASPCA Field Investigations & Response. “We are establishing an emergency shelter that will serve as a safe haven for unowned shelter animals, and we will do everything we can to help communities in Hurricane Irma’s path who need our assistance.”
The ASPCA’s response following Hurricane Harvey includes the relocation of hundreds of displaced shelter animals from Texas and Louisiana to other shelters, including the ASPCA Adoption Center. The ASPCA deployed water rescue teams to assist local agencies with search-and-rescue efforts by boat, provided critical sheltering supplies, dispatched its mobile medical unit to help injured storm animals, and established a temporary shelter for lost pets until they can be reunited with their owners.
The ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team deploys nationwide to assist in relocation, search-and-rescue, sheltering and placement of animals during disaster situations including wildfires, tornadoes, and floods. The team also works closely with local agencies across the country to help enhance their animal response capabilities through grants and training opportunities. In 2016, the ASPCA rescued nearly 1,600 animals from disasters, including Hurricane Matthew and the wildfire in Lake County, Calif. For the latest updates on the ASPCA’s response for Hurricane Irma, please visit www.aspca.org/Irma-Response.