A woman who traveled to Wilmington, North Carolina, to save her car from Hurricane Florence’s fury decided to turn her drive back into an animal rescue mission.
According to Liz Jones, founder of the Sanctuary at Haafsville in Breinigsville, Pennsylvania, not long before Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wilmington and began its onslaught, an unnamed woman flew in to pick up her car before the anticipated flood.
But instead of driving back empty, the woman stopped off at an animal shelter, and carried out a load of animals that might otherwise have been euthanized.
“She thought why should I drive north with an empty vehicle..so she stopped at the Humane Society and said who can I save,” said Jones.
Wilmington was one of the first areas hit on Friday as storm-driven floodwaters surged inland and screaming winds lashed everything in sight.
The hurricane made landfall at 7:15 a.m. on Friday at Wrightsville Beach, just a few miles east of Wilmington, the National Hurricane Center said.
The Pennsylvania sanctuary also welcomed eight dogs and close to a dozen cats last night after a ten-hour trek from a North Carolina shelter.
“A lot of the shelters are in flood zones, so if they were faced if they didn’t get them out, they may have had to make the hard choice to euthanize them,” Jones said.
A rescued dog named Chance had been left behind by her owners to fend for herself.
“She had been abandoned in someone’s apartment. They got to the apartment, the papers were there, the medical history, the relinquishment papers, so clearly they meant to leave her behind,” said Jones.
Chance is one of the lucky ones to make it out of the disaster zone and find a new forever home.
Others are not as fortunate. Jones said she had heard multiple reports of animals being left stranded as their owners flee.
“I was just on the phone with a woman who is setting up a 3000 square foot rescue area for animals. She said it’s just chaos. Animals are just being left on the side of the road,” said Jones.
And with major flooding expected in places like Wilmington, the fates of animals left behind are far from certain.
A Flood of ‘Biblical Proportions’
“I see a biblical proportion flood event that’s going to occur,” Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous told ABC News. “I see the beach communities being inundated with water and destruction that will be pretty, pretty epic in nature.”
Animal rescue volunteers in other parts of the Carolinas have been working around the clock in anticipation of the hurricane.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) planned to have boats, supplies, disaster-relief trailers, and initial strike teams ready for deployment.
“We’ve found over the years that, if we if wait until disaster strikes, we can’t access the area when we need to,” said Richard Green, senior director of the ASPCA’s disaster response team, according to Citizen-Times.
Asheville-based Brother Wolf Animal Rescue workers had already sent teams in to bring at-risk animals to safety.
Others, like volunteer Barbara Cook from the Coastal Animal Rescue in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, planned to remain with the animals at ground zero.
She said there are 16 dogs and around 100 cats at the facility, and they all plan on staying put throughout the storm.
“It would be senseless for me to say we’re not nervous,” Cook said on Tuesday, according to the Citizen Times. “But I know we’ll have people in and out constantly checking on us. Our volunteers care about what they’re doing.”
Cook said that once the brunt of the storm has subsided, the shelter will likely take in animals surrendered by their owners or found wandering the streets.
Green, of the ASPCA, recalled taking part in an animal rescue during Hurricane Floyd, which killed millions of livestock when it made landfall in North Carolina in 1999.
“We were plucking animals, right and left, out of the water,” he said.
Most memorable, he said, was people working together to save lives.
“It was amazing watching a community come together and fall under a command structure—and have it work so beautifully.”
He said the ASPCA has rescued over 1200 animals in Georgia and the Carolinas since Hurricane Floyd.
From The Epoch Times