Animal shelters overcrowded in wake of Hurricane Matthew

AKC Reunite Teams step in to assist

Photo Courtesy of Friends of Edgecombe County Animals—North State Journal
Dogs rescued from flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew wait to be reunited with their owners in Edgecombe County on Thursday

TARBORO, N.C. — When flood waters rise and mandatory evacuations are issued, residents are often unable to take their beloved pets with them, so its becomes the responsibility of local animal shelters to step in and fill the need. “We now have around 200 animals here at the shelter,” said Eugene Taylor, lead animal control officer for Edgecombe County. “That is the most I have seen in the 10 years I have been here.”The Edgecombe County Animal Shelter has surpassed capacity and is relying on community residents to help feed, care, walk and clean kennels for the animals. Many of the animals were separated from their owners, lost in the flood waters and rescued, or picked up as a stray. Other areas such as Cumberland County and Pitt County are filling the same strain and dire need to assist displaced animals. The AKC Reunite Team visited Fayetteville and Hope Mills on Wednesday to evaluate where they could be of assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. An AKC Pet Disaster Relief Trailer was deployed to Hope Mills. While in Cumberland County, workers with AKC Reunite learned that Edgecombe County Animal Control is in need for crates to safely secure animals. The AKC Reunite team is currently on the move renting a truck, purchasing crates and driving to the county seat of Tarboro to deliver the crates and microchips to their shelter in need. These AKC Pet Disaster Relief trailers have been deployed for Hurricane Matthew in Polk County, FL; Greenville, SC; Pamlico County, NC; and Cumberland County, NC. Each trailer has crates, a generator, and other supplies to safely house pets in a shelter during an emergency.AKC Reunite President Tom Sharp visited the emergency pet shelter in Hope Mills and the Cumberland County Animal Control where the trailer was deployed, offering additional assistance to replenish supplies that were used during the emergency. “Our hearts go out to those affected by this disaster. Providing AKC Pet Disaster Relief trailers fully stocked with necessary pet sheltering supplies to emergency responders before disasters strike allows them have a plan in place to help people and their pets. With the equipment we supply, emergency responders can open pet shelters for people and their pets during an evacuation, getting both the people and the pets out of harm’s way,” said Sharp. “The American Kennel Club, AKC Reunite, and AKC dog clubs throughout the country donate time, money and energy to help pets.”