NCDA&CS teamed with rescuers and volunteers for companion animal assistance during Hurricane Florence

by | Apr 1, 2019

This past Fall, North Carolina faced destruction and devastation when Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wilmington.  The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked with various divisions within the department and other organizations to prepare and recover from Hurricane Florence.

NCDA&CS received over 225 calls to the Hurricane Relief Hotline and countless others to individuals on the Incident Management Team. Many of the calls were to report flooding of farms, stranded animals and the inability to access farms. In the first steps for preparing for the storm, the department’s Emergency Programs Division held a conference call with the National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition to discuss the state’s needs.

In the wake of the storm, various organizations came together to help those in need. Code 3 Associates and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals were two of the organizations that responded to help companion animals throughout the storm. These organizations were able to rescue and assist well over 600 animals.

“Our partnerships with these organizations allows us to extend our network beyond the state. These groups make it easier for us to handle the different obstacles in front of us and even help with work that we might not be able to handle on our own,” said Dr. Anna Allen, Southeastern Region EP Veterinarian.

Code 3 Associates is a non-profit organization that specializes in disaster response for animal needs. The ASPCA is a not-for-profit corporation that aids in animal rescue and animal cruelty cases across the nation. Code 3 Associates was activated by Pender and Duplin counties the weekend that Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina coast. 

The organization was involved in understanding the county’s immediate needs and requests. Code 3 was given missions for water rescues in cooperation with Pender County Animal Services. Along with Code 3 Associates, the International Fund for Animal Welfare was able to help Duplin County with shelter operations. Everything from horses to birds were rescued by Code 3 Associates and taken to dry, safe ground where they were provided with food, clean water and daily visits until their homes were safe.

Code 3 Animal Search and Rescue teams were assisted by the American Humane Society, International Fund for Animal Welfare; Humane Society of Missouri; and North Carolina-based Rescue Ranch and Red Dog Farm Animal Rescue Network and Safe Haven Equine Rescue of Texas. When Code 3 Associates and their partners arrived, they came in vehicles, including RVs, sheltering trailers, Code 3’s Big Animal Rescue Truck and trailers loaded with supplies and equipment to aid in rescues. 

“Organizations such as Code 3 bring in volunteers and resources the Department of Agriculture, otherwise wouldn’t have access to and we are grateful for that help,” Allen said. “When we ask for their help, they already understand our needs based on the situation at hand because of their training and experience.”

The ASPCA staged it’s Animal Search and Rescue team at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds for a two-day period when the storm made landfall.  Leading up to the storm, ASPCA staff traveled throughout North Carolina and South Carolina ensuring that animals made it to safe, dry land. The ASPCA took requests to assist with sheltering in Robeson and Brunswick counties. They were also able to send two animal search and rescue teams to Florence, SC to help with rescue and sheltering.

“Hurricane Florence was worse in many ways for the state but, in my opinion, many things ran more smoothly and efficiently, especially for our Incident Management Team, because of our recent experience with Hurricane Matthew,” Allen said.   “Our national NGO animal search and rescue teams were also able to be efficient because they were serving the same areas they deployed to in Matthew – so they knew the area and the people they were working with already – which really helps when things are stressful, and the area is unrecognizable due to flooding.”