Flagler Humane Society opens kennels to dogs and cats displaced by South Carolina flooding.
Headlights from a white van announced the arrival of the new animals at the Flagler Humane Society. The journey began nearly 24-hours before when the van, filled with animals, left North Carolina for Florida.
When the call came out from the Florida Association of Animal Welfare Organizations looking for shelters to take in animals from flood-stricken areas of South Carolina, Amy Carotenuto, director at FHS, didn’t hesitate to open some kennels. She knows what it is like to need emergency housing for the homeless animals. It’s when you know who’s got your back.
“We had to help. In 1998 we had to walk out of this place and hope it wasn’t burned to the ground when we got back,” Carotenuto said, as she remembered the county-wide evacuation during one of Flagler’s worst firestorm summers. “Alachua County Animal Services helped us and took our animals in.”
In early October, South Carolina suffered flooding due to a tropical weather system. A huge burden was placed on already crowded animal shelters as adoptions went down and more animals came in.
The shelter staff expected the van from Brother Wolfe Animal Rescue in Ashville, N.C., to arrive at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5. A change in plans delayed their arrival until past 7 p.m. Shelter staff and volunteers remained after hours to greet and settle the six dogs, four kittens and an adult cat into their FHS kennels. The North Carolina rescue had been housing the displaced animals at their facility until they could be transported to other shelters.
“These animals are in tremendous and urgent need and we are fortunate enough to be able to help, Carotenuto said. “We have been consistently saving more than 88 percent of the animals entering our shelter this year, and we are so grateful to be able to help these animals left homeless because of a disaster,” she said.
The van wasn’t empty when it headed north on I-95. It was full of supplies for the struggling shelters, dry dog food and bleach.
“We were blessed with donations that we were able to send back with them,” Carotenuto said.