Best Friends Blog

Getting ready for Hurricane Irma – volunteer transport needed

Hurricane Irma from NOAA
Irma is going into the record books as a monster storm. Best Friends Animal Society and other national and local animal organizations are working overtime to ensure that she won’t go into the record books for her impact on Florida’s animals.

Before landfall, Best Friends is mobilizing our network of more than 2,000 rescue and shelter partners around the country to secure commitments to take in animals from Florida shelters, and help transport them out of the state within the next two days.

So far, seven of our partners in Florida have asked for assistance with transporting about 1,100 dogs and cats to safety. As of this writing, multiple organizations have committed to moving 350 and that number is growing, but volunteer transport is urgently needed to move multiple animals to receiving shelters in other states.
Two puppies being transported in a crate
If you have a vehicle large enough to transport multiple pets and can help, please contact us immediately at Please put “HURRICANE IRMA TRANSPORT” in the subject line of your email and include the following information:

  • How many dogs or cats can you transport?
  • How far are you willing to drive outside of Florida?

Minimum age to volunteer for transports is 23 years of age.

We will also be mounting a response to the effects of Irma as soon as we can get boots on the ground, and to maximize our impact, we are partnering with First Coast No More Homeless Pets from Jacksonville under the leadership of their founder, Rick DuCharme.

We won’t know the details of what that response will look like until after Irma has blown through.

More: Best Friends in Atlanta is in the thick of it. They are housing animals who have been evacuated from the Georgia coast, and tomorrow our Atlanta team will dispatch two transport vans to Florida to move shelter pets to safe haven.

Please check back here and on our Facebook page for updates.

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Francis Battista
Best Friends Animal Society

  • Laura Austin

    I would like to know what happen to all the animals at the Ford Center in Texas. There were rescuers who said they were going to euthanize them and the SPCA had thrown all the volunteers and rescuers out of there. Please if you can find out what happen to them it would be greatly appreciated. There’s people who are still looking for their pets. Thank you

  • Christina Anderson

    I posted three dogs chained in Miami and deserted by their owners. I have not been able to find out if anyone was able to get them off those chains and into a safe place or not. Thank you Best Friends! You folks are the best! If anyone has info on those dogs, please post to my page on FB – Christina E. Anderson – animal advocacy.

    • Laura Austin

      Yea I remember hearing about the dogs left chained up.. I’m praying someone had reached them in time to save their life. It would be nice if everyone one would hear what the results were because I’m sure so many folks were just as worried about them too. And the owner should be charged for not providing and abandoning them. I don’t know what’s wrong with some people doing that to them after what happen in Texas to those poor animals. Thank you

  • Janet Yearty

    First, thank you BF and everyone offering to help! I live in

  • Connie Palmer Smalley

    Just sent you an email about rescuing the famous Hemingway cats on Key West Island. The manager of the Hemingway House where the cats live has refused to leave the house with the cats. I’ve given this woman the name, phone #, and email address of Best Friends and urged her by email to contact you. Could Best Friends perhaps try to call her tomorrow? Just use Hemingway Home on Key West & you’ll get the contact info.

    Thank you so much. I’m going to donate for your Irma rescue – I’ve already given for your Houston pet rescue.

  • Lisa Dorn-Casper

    I live in WI and would be more than willing to come help out. I just now seen this and wouldn’t be able to get there on time. If I would have known you needed help earlier, I would be there now. It takes about 2 hard days of driving to get there. I hope people are stepping up to help out. Best of luck and thank you for all you do.

  • Ashley

    I’m in CO so traveling to FL isn’t in the books for me. Do you all need coverage in UT while volunteers are away or are you all set there?

  • Mindy miller

    Francis, I was a Katrina volunteer at Tylertown, in November. I cared for the whole cat house (70 cats) the weekend you had almost no volunteers. I worked there with Mackensie, Russian Mead, yourself. I also worked the Pahrump cat sanctuary case. I fell off your radar sometime later when you revamped the volunteer program. I want to volunteer now. Plz contact me… Mindy Miller

  • Mongoose218

    I wish the Sebring animal shelter in Sebring Florida had seen this before they began (at least they sounded like they were going to do it today, Sept 7th….maybe not?) to euthanize their animals…they are a small shelter, and all their animals live in cages outside, dogs and cats….they feel they should not have to go through the hurricane….but honestly, the hurricane can still change its path…..anyway, if you can contact them and maybe save some of their animals? That would be wonderful!

    • Theresa

      WTF? Are you serious?? That’s insane!!! All shelters in a hurricane path should have an evacuation plan in place that doesn’t involve stealing lives.

  • Patricia Delany

    Another great rescue team from Best Friends at work! Many thanks!