Florida animal shelter flies all its animals to California ahead of Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma is due to land in Florida on Saturday. Broward County shelter wanted to clear their facility entirely by shipping them up to California to make way for disaster victims.

A well oiled machine lept into action. They called Animal Rescue Foundation last Tuesday and asked whether they could take in 150 dogs, cats and rabbits. They also asked whether they accept ferrets but they are illegal in California.

The answer was of course, Yes, from the Executive Director, Elaine Bicker. The animals were given a police escort to the airport at Fort Lauderdale. They were transported on a one-stop flight to Hayward Executive Airport.

Three Bay Area agencies, Animal Rescue Foundation, the Berkely Humane Society and the East Bay SPCA were ready and waiting. They prepared a warm welcome.

A fleet of vans and buses were lined up. There were two veterinarians on hand together with a couple of dozen volunteers. The air transportation came from Wings of Rescue. This is an all volunteer organisation financed through donations. The flight was paid by ARF and GreaterGood.org.

These efforts are as a result of lessons learned after Hurricane Katrina. There is obviously a wonderful network behind this huge relocation of cats and dogs. The rescue organisations work together wonderfully well as they reach out to one another and pull together during emergencies. It’s a great effort to completely empty a shelter of 150 animals and ship them to California from Florida where they can be rehomed.

There was a large contingent of media journalists awaiting the plane when it landed in the Bay Area. Each of the cat and dog carriers contained information regarding the occupant. There was lots of meowing and barking.

Bicker said that ARF cut their teeth in 2011 after a devastating tornado. It was their first disaster. You have to admire the coordination and the effort of the wonderful volunteers who make this work. Rescue animal relocation on this scale is unique to America. They have the best network of animal rescue organisations in the world and under these dire circumstances they work together brilliantly.

Source: East Bay Times.

1 thought on “Florida animal shelter flies all its animals to California ahead of Hurricane Irma”

  1. Kudos to Broward County.

    I know that Alachua County has waived any adoption fees and arebegging for fosterers so they can have room for rescued animals.

    More and more hurricane shelters here are allowing at least one pet to be admitted with their person. Not perfect, ofcourse, since many have multiple pets; but, it’s better than it used to be.

    It’s a scramble to find safe havens for cats and dogs.

    For many of our Community Cats people, it’s a nightmare; but, we will, indeed, weather this storm to keep a check on our cats and their safety. We’ll be out in force and have weighted boots for some of our light weight members who could be blown away.


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