24 Hours of Rescue: The Floridians Who Saved Pets After Hurricane Ian


When Hurricane Ian struck Florida, it left behind a path of destruction. Many people were left stranded, and many pets were left stranded as well. In the aftermath of the storm, rescue teams from all over the state came to help.

As the floodwaters rose in Florida in the wake of Hurricane Ian, animal lovers across the state came together to rescue stranded pets. Many people went out in boats to help evacuate animals from flooded areas, while others set up temporary shelters to provide food and water for displaced pets. Thanks to the efforts of these compassionate animal lovers, hundreds of pets were able to escape the worst of the storm.

Capt. Greg Hubbard of Orange County Fire Rescue in Orlando led a special operations team that went door to door in flooded neighborhoods, donning dry suits, wetsuits, or other protective gear. The team brought boats with them to help residents escape the floods.

In the Rio Pinar neighborhood, about 8 miles east of downtown Orlando, nearly every house had pets — often at least two dogs. Some families even had as many as seven cats. This was especially common in households with four or more people.

“There were at least three or four dozen animals that we rescued out of that neighborhood alone,” he said. “These people were all taken by surprise because none of these areas were considered in flood zones.”

He said that, even though the people sometimes seemed panicked, the dogs were all calm and almost seemed to appreciate what was happening. Not a single dog growled, barked, or nipped.

“I almost feel like the dogs had a calming effect on the people and the rescuers,” he said.

One woman told Hubbard, “Danger’s coming out.” He asked — with some trepidation — “Who’s Danger?”

Danger turned out to be a senior, overweight dog who posed absolutely no threat to rescuers.

“I got a chuckle out of that: the dog’s name is Danger but he was anything but dangerous,” he said.

But mainly, he is moved by the families who’d lost everything yet still felt grateful to be alive.

“You’d walk into their house and it’s just absolute devastation. Raw sewage inside the house, really dirty water. All of their worldly possessions just destroyed,” he said. “But they were in really good spirits. Some of the couples even said, ‘We made it out, our animals made it out. We can replace everything else.’”

Hubbard was born and raised in Orange County, California. He said he is very proud of the 1,400 people who work for the fire department in his hometown. The department is made up of brave men and women who are dedicated to protecting the lives and property of residents in the county.

“We worked nearly a 24-hour shift and not one person complained,” he said. “They get their houses ready to the best of their ability and they know when they come to work, they’re probably going to be there for three or four days without going home. And that’s exactly what happened.”

“We would never leave a dog behind,” he said. “I think it’s safe to say we exceeded the capacity of the boats in some instances, but I think some rules were meant to be broken, and that was one rule we were willing to break on that day and under those circumstances.”

In the meantime, workers and volunteers at many rescue groups in Florida have been working together to help shelter pets get out of areas that have been hit by disasters. They’ve even evacuated pets when they’ve lost their own homes.

The Humane Society Naples is a nonprofit organization that strives to save animals. Denise Deisler, president and CEO of Jacksonville Humane Society, also leads Florida Leaders in Lifesaving, a network of animal shelters and rescue organizations with the goal of saving more animals across the state.

Florida Leaders in Lifesaving helps shelters arrange to transport their own animals to other shelters to make room for newly displaced pets from damaged shelters. The organization provides assistance with either driving or flying the animals to their new location. This allows for a larger number of animals to be saved from being euthanized due to lack of space.

51 cats and 15 dogs were loaded onto a plane by rescuers in Naples and flown to Brandywine Valley SPCA in Delaware. The flight was funded by Petco Love and piloted by the nonprofit Wings of Rescue.

More Details Here: TODAY.com







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