ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – As the East Coast prepares for damaging winds and flooding by Hurricane Dorian, local animal shelters are doing everything they can to bring as many animals to safety as possible.
“We’ve done lots of rescues whenever a hurricane hits. We typically get a big bunch of animals and just to do any medical examinations, just to make room for displaced animals,” says Eva Berton, adoption coordinator at Angels of Assisi.
The Roanoke shelter is one of many that have opened their doors to protect animals originally from areas that are anticipated to be affected by the powerful storm.
So far, Angels of Assisi has sheltered 30 cats from Clay County, a populated area that includes the city of Jacksonville, Florida. The animals were at a shelter before being relocated to Virginia by the Best Friends Animal Society, a nonprofit animal welfare organization that conducts outreach programs nationwide during natural disasters. By keeping animals safe and continuing their chance to find good homes, Florida shelters are able to provide more room for animals that may be displaced after the hurricane.
The animals were transported by plane from Jacksonville to Lynchburg, Va. where local humane shelters like Angels of Assisi and the Lynchburg Humane Society were able to pick them up and shelter them at their individual locations.
Berton says that when the cats arrived at the shelter, they were in a state of shock and confusion.
“There is a transition period, coming to a different shelter, especially with all the transportation and everything in the process. It does take them a little while to settle in, but we do the best we can by giving them treats and giving them lots of toys to play with and just making sure that it’s an easy transition for them,” says Berton.
The animals are all readily available for adoption after receiving their vet examinations and proper care. Throughout the next couple of days, the organization is looking to take in as many animals as they possibly can, including guinea pigs, rabbits, and ferrets.
When preparing for a major disaster, Berton says people often fail to protect their household pets. She suggests that families include their animals in their disaster relief plan.
“Just making sure that, depending on where you are, that there is a spot for you and your pets. Or if you’re unable to take your pets with you, that there’s a safe spot to either house them or just get them out of a distressed area as fast as you can,” says Berton.
For ways to help at Angels of Assisi, you can adopt, volunteer, or donate. A list of needed supplies and additional information can be found on their website here.