‘It never hurts to prepare’: Lowcountry animal shelters preparing for Idalia

Published: Aug. 29, 2023 at 5:25 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 29, 2023 at 10:40 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - As the Lowcountry prepares for Hurricane Idalia, animal shelters are preparing their animals and buildings for the potential impacts.

Shelters throughout the state are packed with animals, but especially before Idalia makes landfall, the shelters are begging the community to adopt or foster to make room for any animals that may need protection during the storm.

Both Dorchester Paws and the Charleston Animal Society say they are bursting at the seams with cats and dogs right now.

Dorchester Paw’s campus sits on a low area of land, meaning when heavy rains come to the area, the dog kennels end up going underwater.

“Anytime we get even a little bit of rain that is consistent over a few hours to a few days, our campus is in a flood zone,” Dorchester Paws Operations Director, April Howard, says.

Monday, the shelter asked the community on Facebook for help to clear out all of their kennels.

Dozens of people lined up outside of the shelter Tuesday morning, with every single dog and cat inside of the shelter being fostered by the end of the day, so they can be safe during the storm.

“I think for the staff, we’re always worried. Are we going to be able to get them all out of here?” Howard says. “To see the community actually step up and support us, and want to be here, want to get them out into safety is, honestly, I don’t think there’s words for it.”

The Charleston Animal Society sits on a high point of land, but they are preparing to help other shelters in South Carolina that are more prone to flooding, and to rescue any animals that may need help during the storm.

“I know a lot of people may be thinking, ‘well, we’re not in Florida, this isn’t going to be affecting us as badly,’ but it never hurts to prepare, you never know what it’s going to be like,” Charleston Animal Society Vice President of Operations, Aldwin Roman, says.

Some tips both shelters give include:

  • Making sure your pet has a collar
  • Microchip information is up to date
  • Enough food and water on hand
  • All medications and veterinary paperwork in one location

Roman recommends keeping a ‘Grab ‘n Go’ bag on hand in case evacuations are required.

“You never know if you’re going to have to pack up real quick and leave so make sure you have all those things ready,” he adds.

“Putting them in a quiet room or playing music, all of those things can help giving them something that comforts them; whether it’s a blanket or their favorite toy, and just being there with them and for them is important,” Howard says.