TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—The Humane Society of the United States is on the ground in Florida helping animals and communities impacted by the deadly Hurricane Idalia. The assistance of the HSUS was requested by Florida emergency management officials.
Responders from the HSUS deployed to Madison County, Florida, to distribute pet food and supplies following the storm. Additionally, the HSUS coordinated and funded the transport of animals who were available for adoption in various Florida shelters prior to the hurricane. Not only was moving animals awaiting adoption out of the path of the storm essential for their safety, doing so gives those animals a second chance at finding adoptive homes. This also increases the capacity of impacted communities to care for the influx of displaced animals following the storm, increasing the likelihood of lost pets being reunited with their families.
Some of the critical services the HSUS is providing include:
- Operating a supply distribution center for Madison County residents. The HSUS rescue team is distributing pet food and supplies as well as feed for cows, horses, goats and chickens. Approximately 350 households and nearly 1,400 animals, including dogs, cats, cows, chickens and squirrels, were assisted by our team through this center over Labor Day weekend.
- The HSUS is setting up an emergency animal shelter to enable the county to maintain essential animal services until the local shelter is operational again. The storm caused structural damage to the building. It may take up to three months to repair the shelter.
- The HSUS helped coordinate the evacuation of the Madison County shelter prior to the storm making landfall and is currently paying boarding expenses for some of those evacuated animals while working to arrange placement with another shelter or rescue partner.
“Our team has been working around the clock to help the community and their animals while doing the hard physical work of unloading and carrying thousands of pounds of supplies, and now building out an emergency animal shelter,” said Celia Jackson, disaster response program manager for the Humane Society of the United States. “Some of these people have lost everything, making it incredibly meaningful to be able help families stay together and find solace in their bonds by providing the resources to care for their pets.”
The HSUS remains in contact with other counties in Florida and Georgia as they assess their animal services needs following the hurricane.