The Effingham County animal shelter gave away some dogs and cats for free, and sent the rest to rescues so it could close during Hurricane Irma.
Shelter Director Lorna Shelton said she and her staff worked really hard last week to place all the animals in homes or with rescues and secure the empty shelter for the storm.
Because so many people stepped up to help, Shelton didn’t have to euthanize any animals because of the storm.
“We have so many people to thank for helping when we really needed it,” she said.
Shelton said she really appreciates how hard and long her staff worked – Amy Hamilton, Jessica Kicklighter and Angela Velazco – and the prison inmates who are assigned to work at the shelter.
“They all rocked it,” she said.
Shelton took 22 Effingham cats to the Statesboro airport Friday afternoon, where they joined 12 cats from Long County on a flight, piloted by Stewart Kenny, to Furkids Animal Rescue in Atlanta.
One Love Animal Rescue’s Karrie Bulaski and Erin Padgett coordinated all the out-of-state rescues and Helping out Pets in Effingham (HOPE) agreed to pay for medical work for 25 dogs that were moved from the shelter.
“They will need serious donations to cover this bill,” Shelton said.
Shady Pines Boarding Kennel in Savannah also helped – keeping dogs until they could be transported.
A dozen dogs were adopted by people who came into the shelter last week and 15 dogs were reclaimed by their owners.
The storm prompted people to do what they didn’t do a week earlier. The Effingham shelter had a Clear the Shelter event week before last, which it advertised extensively and which had nothing to do with the hurricane. It was an attempt to get all of the animals adopted at once.
But only three cats and four dogs were adopted that week. Eight dogs that were free because of donations from HOPE were not adopted.
Shelton was disappointed at the outcome of that effort. But when the word was put out for the storm a week later, the shelter was swamped with people offering to help.