Hurricane Dorian has devastated homes and animal shelters from Grand Bahama Island to North Carolina’s barrier islands as it makes its way up the coast. In its wake, thousands of people and their pets, along with shelters filled with homeless animals have been left in dire need.
The good news is you can help. Here are a few organizations where your donations will have the most impact:
Humane Society of Grand Bahama
The Humane Society of Grand Bahama takes in a large number of stray animals and house approximately 1,200 dogs per year. Executive director Tip Burrows confirmed that the shelter has been destroyed, and they lost some of their long-term residents including many dogs. The building itself is still standing, but everything inside will have to be renovated and replaced.
Donations for the shelter and its animals can be sent to this GoFundMe page.
The Humane Society of the United States
The HSUS has coordinated efforts to remove around 80 pets from shelters in Florida, Nassau Humane Society, Jacksonville Animal Protective Services and St. Johns County Pet Center. The dogs and cats were flown on a chartered plane and arrived at the Michigan Humane Society, where they were sent to local shelter partners for proper care. Many of the dogs are large breeds. The idea is to free up space in these shelters for more displaced animals that will arrive because of the storm.
To donate specifically to help animals affected by Dorian, the HSUS has set up The Emergency Animal Rescue Fund.
H.A.L.O. Animal Rescue
H.A.L.O., a no-kill rescue in Florida, has been organizing efforts to offer relief to animals affected by Dorian. They have been in contact with the Humane Society of Grand Bahamas. Executive Director Jacque Petrone has secured planes to fly in supplies, but they are awaiting word that runways have been cleared in Freeport. Each flight will cost around $2,000.
The shelter has set up a GoFundMe page for donations to this effort (same one as Humane Society of Grand Bahama, as working together).
Wings of Rescue
Wings of Rescue is an organization of volunteers that flies animals from high-intake shelters to shelters that have space. They also ensure that no animal that they fly will be euthanized, nor will any animal that takes their place in the shelter of origin. Before the storm, Wings of Rescue partnered with the ASPCA, Brandywine Valley SPCA and others to transport around 200 homeless animals to safety. Wings of Rescue is planning to send out more planes to the Bahamas as soon as they are cleared to land. They are using Fort Lauderdale as a base, and will transport humanitarian aid for both people and pets, while flying animals out of flood zones.
The ASPCA Adoption Center in New York City has already received a number of animals from the Hilton Head Humane Association and Beaufort County Animal Shelter, which were flown to the northeast by Wings of Rescue, with assistance from the Rachel Ray Foundation. According to its news bulletin, these animals will soon be available for adoption at shelters in Illinois, Ohio, Massachusetts, Maine and New York.
Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago
The Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago received 89 dogs and cats from Myrtle Beach, S.C., before the hurricane hit the area, arriving this past Thursday. They are seeking donations and/or foster homes for these pets; foster providers will receive a “pet care starter kit” along with veterinary and behavioral support for the length of the foster stay, estimated to be around 2 to 4 weeks. If you have never fostered an animal before, they will provide training.
Big Dog Ranch Rescue
Located in Loxahatchee Groves, Fla., Big Dog Ranch Rescue has launched humanitarian cruises with Paradise to the Bahamas to bring in pallets of pet food and other supplies. Over the next few days, they have boats chartered to bring in more pet food along with water and humanitarian supplies for people displaced by the hurricane. Big Dog Ranch is on a 33-acre site, and they have saved 5,000 dogs each year that they’ve been open.
Pet Friendly Evacuation Shelters and Emergency Information
Animal welfare agencies want to remind pet owners that they should never leave their pets behind. Consider filling any pet medications before you have to leave, and put together a “go bag” for your pet that includes food and water for a week and an extra collar and leash along with your pet’s ID. It’s also a good idea to have a photo of yourself and your pet if you end up separated, and you need to claim your dog. If you decide to ride out the storm (which is usually not advised), make sure that your pet is not tied down or confined. FEMA has a printout for pet parents in the event of a disaster.
Related: What To Do If You See A Lost Dog