South Carolina

The cats and dogs are safe! MB animal shelters evacuate for ‘more extreme’ hurricane

Volunteers helped load up animals from the Grand Strand Humane Society before Hurricane Florence hits land.
Volunteers helped load up animals from the Grand Strand Humane Society before Hurricane Florence hits land. Courtesy of Lindsey Rankin

Myrtle Beach animal shelters have been sending vans of dogs and cats up the East Coast ahead of Hurricane Florence’s predicted landfall early Friday.

Jess Wnuk, executive director of the Grand Strand Humane Society, said the organization evacuated all but two of their animals.

“The last van just left,” she said at 3:25 p.m. Wednesday. “There is not an animal left in this building.”

The last two animals are still being bottle-fed and are being sheltered with a staff member, Wnuk said.

She said 179 animals were taken out of the area in trucks and are being permanently moved to different shelters. About 100 more dogs and cats are being evacuated with the staff members themselves, Wnuk said. They’re staying with Pawmetto Lifeline in Columbia, she said.

“We’re very fortunate,” Wnuk said.

The Humane Society of North Myrtle Beach also evacuated animals ahead of the hurricane.

The organization posted on Facebook that 34 animals were transported away from Myrtle Beach by the Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia. Sixteen more — five dogs and 11 cats — were taken to Tennessee, the organization said on Facebook.

Another 38 were taken to the ASPCA and the Toledo Area Humane Society before the storm, the Humane Society of North Myrtle Beach said on Facebook.

A New York shelter, Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, also took in 29 cats from a Myrtle Beach shelter before the storm, the group posted on Twitter.

Wnuk said the Grand Strand shelter didn’t evacuate to this extent for Hurricane Matthew. “This is more extreme for us,” Wnuk said. “For Hurricane Matthew, we waited it out.”

During Hurricane Matthew, staff members slept at the shelter and brought all the animals inside, she said.

“We were without power for six days in Matthew,” she said.

But Hurricane Florence would be worse.

“We could not ever have done this without all of our rescue partners, our staff, our volunteers.”

Hannah Smoot: 803-329-4068, @hgsmoot