In Savannah Morning News Column,Uncategorized

Hurricane Irma: Lessons learned and lives saved

Savannah Morning News – September 22, 2017 Michelle Thevenin, Executive Director

Like most of you, it was nice to start this week and get back into our normal schedule at the Humane Society for Greater Savannah.  Aside from one tree down and a short power loss, we suffered little to no damage on our campus.  Unlike with Hurricane Matthew, no trees fell on our new play yard fencing so we still have ample play space for our dogs as they meet their new families.

We evacuated our pets to a temporary shelter managed by the Atlanta Humane Society in an empty Home Depot in Roswell, Georgia.  We ended up taking only 26 pets with us as so many community members stepped up and did storm fostering for us for the weekend.  Having a smaller number of pets to evacuate means we had a less complicated  evacuation.  And Atlanta Humane Society hosted a large adoption event after the hurricane so we only brought 7 pets back to Savannah on Wednesday.  Fewer trips back and forth mean the pets are less stressed and less likely to get sick, which is a win for the animals and our limited resources.

You might wonder why we evacuated given the path of the storm changed and the mandatory evacuation order was lifted.  Our shelter building floods during normal rainstorms and as we were still potentially faced with significant flooding, tree fall and loss of power, we decided it was in the best interest of our pets that we evacuate to a more secure location.

We had a stellar adoption weekend once we returned to Savannah and are now working with some national organizations to help Florida shelter pets affected by Hurricane Irma.  Most often these are pets that were in shelters when the hurricane hit Florida; either their shelters were destroyed or they need to make room for abandoned and lost pets post hurricane.

We had the opportunity to test out our new transport van in our evacuation.  We were able to use the van to move our cats to Atlanta while the dogs travelled in our other older, less reliable vehicle – humane transport standards are that cats and dogs travel separately rather than in the same vehicle.   The official ribbon cutting for our new van is on Friday September 22 at 9a in our front parking lot – the public is invited!

Hurricane season is not quite over – hopefully we don’t have to practice our evacuation drill again this season but we are prepared should the need arise!

Finally – our quarterly book sale is Saturday September 23 from 9-12noon – all “parking lot” books, dvd’s and CD’s are only a quarter!  And a bag of VHS tapes will be just $1!