While scores of people in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia are being told to leave their homes ahead of what’s expected to be a devastating Hurricane Florence, animal shelters in the region are also scrambling to get pets out of the storm’s path.
The National Hurricane Center upgraded Florence to a Category 4 storm and said it expects “life-threatening” rainfall and flooding to hit the Carolinas and mid-Atlantic states when the storm makes landfall at the end of the week.
Evacuating animals from shelters is costly. During last year’s Hurricane Irma in Florida, it cost nearly $60,000 to shuttle 265 animals out of harm’s way, according to one report. Roughly $11,000 of that total was spent on the animals’ veterinary needs, the report said.
“Our expenses for responding to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria were around $120,000 last year,” Jon Elmore, CEO the Charleston Animal Society in South Carolina, told Money magazine. The Charleston Animal Society is currently responsible for about 700 animals across the region.
Elmore said the best way for those concerned about the well-being of these animals is to donate money to the shelters. People can send money directly to the Charleston Animal Society online by clicking the “Donate Today” button on the top right corner of the page.
Those looking to donate to other groups providing aid to animals in danger of Hurricane Florence can use websites like Guidestar and Charity Navigator to make sure their money is going to reputable nonprofit organizations.
“If you think about $120,000 and the 750 animals we were able to save last year, that’s just $160 per animal,” Elmore said. “For $160 you can save an animal’s life.”
Unfortunately, many pets end up as strays amid storms like Hurricane Florence as they are left behind by owners evacuating their homes, Matt Williams a spokesperson for the Humane Rescue Alliance told the Associated Press Tuesday.
“Usually, if people do not have a place to take them or if the animals get lost in the shuffle of the storm, they may end up as strays,” Williams said.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals told local news outlets in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, that its volunteers were working around the clock to prepare boats, supplies, and disaster-relief trailers so first-responders can help get animals to safety.
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Originally published at www.businessinsider.com