Beaufort Co. Animal Shelter evacuates animals, rescues those left behind during Hurricane Matthew

Beaufort Co. Animal Shelter evacuates animals, rescues those left behind during Hurricane Matthew

BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) - It was a week ago Friday that most of us were in a flurry of preparations, getting ready for Hurricane Matthew.

Now, one week later, many communities across the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry are well into the recovery phase.

Animal control workers not only had to evacuate hundreds of animals from their shelters but also had to rescue pets people left behind.

They transported animals right before the storm to places like Columbia, Aiken and even as far as New York. But even after shipping off those animals, staff at the Beaufort County Animal Shelter found themselves working around-the-clock to rescue animals residents had to leave behind.

The animal shelter was already in disrepair and was unable to support the animals there during the storm.  The executive director told me the facility floods even with the lightest of thunderstorms.

Their first job was to get all of the animals, about 400 of them, out of the facility.  Some staff members drove animals as far as Washington, D.C. to get them out of harm's way.

But the next problem to arise for staff at the shelter was the amount of abandonment calls that forced them to continue transport even after the evacuation. It forced staff to be on the ground sooner than expected.

"Well, the ground team hit the ground running Saturday morning. ASPCA was with us, we deployed. We did about 200 plus cases of abandonment. Hilton Head Humane is our partner. Officers were actually doing breaking-and-entering with the owner's approval to get these animals out of harm's way," said Beaufort Co. Animal Shelter Executive Director Tallulah Trice.

Those animals that were shipped off will not be returned because they were owner surrenders. As of right now, the shelter is making sure families have food for their pets, and crates for them to live in just in case there's an issue with living arrangements because of the storm.

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