Best Friends Blog

Hurricane Irma update

Rescue after Hurricane Irma, courtesy of First Coast No More Homeless Pets
On the heels of Hurricane Harvey, Irma made its way across the Atlantic, shattering records for strength and size. Irma battered island nations from Barbuda to Cuba, killing dozens and leaving a trail of destruction from which it will take years to recover.

Hurricane Irma then hit Florida, and while the damage wasn’t as bad as many feared, Irma has devastated the state from top to bottom. Roughly four million homes and businesses are without power and communication is a serious problem across the state.

Best Friends is partnering with Jacksonville-based First Coast No More Homeless Pets (FCNMHP) to help people and pets affected by Irma. Due to the unexpected and severe flooding in Jacksonville, Rick DuCharme and his team had to address some minor damage at their center. We’re happy to say that Rick, his staff and the animals there are doing OK, and they’re helping lead this effort in the Sunshine State. A logistics and distribution center to support animal welfare organizations across the hard-hit state has opened at the Cassatt Regional Veterinary Hospital at 464 Cassat Avenue in Jacksonville.

One of the sad realities of natural disasters like major hurricanes is that gaining a full understanding of their full impact takes days and sometimes weeks. This applies to animals caught up in the storm and not just those physically separated from their families. With houses destroyed, families are often hard-pressed to find a place to live after they leave the temporary emergency shelters, and that means more animals entering already crowded animal shelters.

We are working with FCNMHP to establish a temporary shelter to facilitate animal transports and offer extended hold periods for displaced pets. We anticipate that the need in Florida will be at least as great as what we are seeing in the Houston area.

Your support for our work and that of our partner organization in Florida is needed and much appreciated. Here is a FCNMHP wish list. You can make a financial donation by visiting the FCNMHP website here. You can donate to the Best Friends disaster relief fund for efforts in Florida by visiting this link.

Best Friends will be working to help Florida pets affected by the storm to land safely with their families or in good new homes.

Photo courtesy of First Coast No More Homeless Pets

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Francis Battista
Best Friends Animal Society

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