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Here’s How to Help Animals Displaced by the Hurricane

The best bet? Adopt a pet ASAP.
Do your part to help the animals in the storm's path. Photograph via Flickr user Daniel Stockman.

As Hurricane Florence prepares to make landfall along the coast with unprecedented flooding and rain, folks are evacuating, stocking up on batteries and bottled water, and boarding up homes. But what about the pets?

Potomac group PetConnect Rescue has brought 32 dogs and cats from the Florence Area Humane Society in Florence, South Carolina to the DMV, where they’ve been placed with volunteer fosters for safekeeping. Florence is in the path of the hurricane, and not only will moving the animals keep them safe, it will free up space for recovery efforts post-storm.

The Humane Rescue Alliance has done the same. The group recently accepted 26 dogs and cats from a shelter in Norfolk; they’ll all be available for adoption within the next few days. The group expects more to come, says communication director Matt Williams. “We’re ready and standing by.”

So what can you do to help?

If you’ve been considering adoption, now’s the time to get a pet. “If you adopt an animal from us now, that clears room for us to bring in additional animals from the affected areas,” says Williams. “That’s the biggest push right now.” (And if you’re not ready to commit forever, you can also sign up for their foster program.)

And, of course, donations always help in a time like this. “When we get animals, there’s a cost for us,” says Williams. “We have to transport them, number one, and number two, we have to make sure they’re vaccinated and microchipped and spayed and neutered. So monetary donations are always gladly accepted.”

It also never hurts to spread the word. If family or friends are in the direct path of the storm, make sure they have a prep kit for their pets, the group recommends. A first aid kit, ID tag, and three days-worth of food are all essential to keeping your pet safe and healthy.

The Humane Rescue Alliance was able to bring in 150 animals during last year’s hurricane season, and the DC community stepped up to help out, says Williams.

He says he expects the same this year: “This won’t be the last hurricane.”

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Mimi Montgomery joined Washingtonian in 2018. She previously was the editorial assistant at Walter Magazine in Raleigh, North Carolina, and freelanced for PoPVille and DCist. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Adams Morgan.