In September 2022, our responders assisted with rescue calls and community outreach in the wake of devastating flooding and destruction in Charlotte County, Florida, after Hurricane Ian.

BLOG: Helping Animals in the Aftermath of Hurricane Ian

How did the Humane Society of the United States help?

We conducted pre-storm evacuations of animals who were available for adoption at two shelters in the path of the storm, Dixie County Animal Control and Madison County Animal Services. We also paid for transportation, coordinated placement and hired contractors to conduct the transport.

How can I support efforts to help animals impacted by Hurricane Ian and other disasters? 

Those interested in supporting our efforts can make a gift through our Emergency Animal Relief Fund. Your support allows us to be there at a moment’s notice when emergencies such as disasters and animal cruelty cases occur. 

Veterinary icon
Animals assisted at the community vet clinic in Charlotte County
open hand with a heart
Unowned animals transported to placement partners
The Humane Society of the United States assists Hurricane Ian victims in Charlotte Co., FL

In the weeks after Hurricane Ian devastated communities across Florida, our team coordinated the creation of a distribution center for pet food and a pop-up veterinary clinic offering free vet services in a regional library parking lot in Port Charlotte, Florida. Dr. Katherine Polak made the trip to help establish a pop-up clinic to meet the demand for veterinary services while local vet clinics were closed.

Kelly Donithan / The HSUS


Oct. 11: 563 cars came through our point of distribution in Port Charlotte and 123 patients, most of whom received treatment for storm-related injuries, were seen by our veterinary team. We're continuing to work closely with Florida State Animal Response Coalition, Florida State Agricultural Response Team, Charlotte County Animal Control, Charlotte County Emergency Management and American Red Cross to make a plan for dislocated residents at Red Cross shelters who need ongoing support.   

Oct. 10: We've now served more than 1,500 people and their pets at our drive-through operation and are continuing to provide pet food, pet supplies and veterinary care at our Port Charlotte point of distribution.  

Oct. 8: We've started offering veterinary services for residents in Charlotte County who have been impacted by the storm. Veterinary services are provided at the Port Charlotte POD.

Oct. 7: We're operating a point of distribution (POD) for all residents in Charlotte County at the Mid County Regional Library in Port Charlotte. We're providing pet food and supplies every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. as a drive-through operation.

Disasters FAQ

Learn more about our animal rescue efforts that take place during hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and more.

Field responders pushing a boat to shore with cats on board
Responders pushing a boat to shore with rescued cats on board during Hurricane Florence in 2018. Meredith Lee / The HSUS

After the emergency

Your home may be a very different place after the emergency is over, and it may be hard for your pets to adjust.

Don't allow your pets to roam loose. Familiar landmarks and smells might be gone, and your pet will probably be disoriented. Pets can easily get lost in such situations. There could also be a lot of debris, such as roofing nails and broken glass, that could cause injuries.

How to Find a Lost Cat

How to Find a Lost Dog

While you assess the damage, keep dogs on leashes and cats in carriers inside the house. If your house is damaged, your pets could escape.

Be patient with your pets after a disaster. Try to get them back into their normal routines as soon as possible. Be ready for behavioral problems caused by the stress of the situation. If these problems persist, or if your pet seems to be having any health problems, talk to your veterinarian.

If your community has been flooded, check your home and yard for wild animals who may have sought refuge there. Wildlife can pose a threat to you and your pet. Check out our tips for humanely evicting wildlife.

If needed, check with your local animal shelter for post-disaster help. Some shelters may be able to provide foster care or shelter for pets in the aftermath of emergency situations. But keep in mind that shelters have limited resources and are likely to be stretched during a local emergency.