June 30, 2011
Minot, N.D.: River Floods the City; Animals Flood the Shelter
by Julie Hauserman
With more than 4,000 homes and businesses under water from flooding in Minot, N.D., the need to keep animals safe is acute.
The Humane Society of the United States is on the ground, helping the Souris Valley Animal Shelter care for more than 500 animals at a shelter.
Some 12,000 people were forced to evacuate when the Souris River began its dangerous rise, and they brought pets in droves to the emergency animal shelter.
The shelter sits outside the flooded town, and it is a bustling scene where volunteers feed and care for animals and try not to think about their submerged homes.
"There are a lot of folks who can't go back into their homes, and it may be weeks before they can go back," said Justin Scally, The HSUS' interim manager for disaster response. "Others will not be able to go back to their homes at all because their homes are completely destroyed."
The people—and pets—of Minot appreciate any help they can get, Scally said. PetSmart Charities has pitched in to provide food.
"Some of these folks who are helping in the animal shelter are displaced from their homes themselves," Scally said. "They are glad that we can work together to help animals and the community in this tragedy."
The HSUS has five staffers on the ground in Minot, and will stay to help animals as the community recovers.