On October 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael made landfall in Mexico Beach, Florida. Michael has been labeled the third most intense Atlantic hurricane to hit the U.S., and its effects have been devastating. With major flooding, loss of life, and the destruction of thousands of homes and buildings, residents throughout the southeast are only just beginning the process of healing and rebuilding.
The depth of human compassion in the wake of such tragedy has been moving, and the lengths that animal lovers have gone to for pets rescued from Hurricane Michael are no exception. Recently, hundreds of these animals were transported throughout the country by teams of dedicated volunteers, and some of them have ended up right here in Jacksonville!
Animal Lovers Unite
People went above and beyond in Jacksonville by coordinating the safe relocation of 100 cats out of the Jacksonville Humane Society in order to accept 23 dogs from Alabama who had nowhere else to go. Thirty more cats and kittens are expected to arrive from a shelter in Bay County that’s been without power since the storm. The Jacksonville Humane Society will provide veterinary care for all animals and place them up for adoption.
Florida and Beyond
Although the hurricane didn’t affect the northern states, that didn’t stop volunteers from stepping up and lending a helping hand. Teams arrived to transport dogs and cats from as far away as Chicago, San Diego, and Seattle. In these cities, animals will have time to decompress and receive medical care before being put up for adoption.
How to Help Pets Rescued from Hurricane Michael
Finding a forever home for adoptable animals is the ongoing goal of every shelter and rescue organization in the country. Some of the most important work that occurs before, during, and after a hurricane is coordinating the transport of animals away from shelters in the storm’s path and into shelters throughout the country where they can be cared for and eventually adopted. Funding is crucial to these efforts, and The Humane Society and local shelters and rescue organizations are always in need of monetary donations.
The gift of your time and talent is always appreciated when it comes to helping pets rescued from Hurricane Michael (or any natural disaster). Volunteers are often needed to provide immediate support and relief to animals, other rescue/volunteer workers, and to families with pets that have been affected by the storm.
Emergency Preparedness for Pets
The safest place for your pet to be during a natural disaster or evacuation situation is with you. Remember, never leave your pet behind during an emergency, and have a plan in place ahead of time so you’re not scrambling at the last minute.
- Identify several potential places where you/your pet could stay during an evacuation, such as with friends or family, a pet-friendly hotel, or boarding facility.
- Gather your pet’s essentials, including their crate/carrier, medical records, leash, and extra food/water. Place these items in a convenient, easy-access location.
- Make sure your pet is current on all vaccines and parasite preventives. Most shelters and boarding facilities won’t accept unvaccinated pets.
- Have your pet microchipped, and make sure to register the chip with your current contact information.