URGENT! WAN Breaks Down Everything You Need To Know About The Animal Rescues On The Ground As Hurricane Florence Threatens The Carolinas

Photo from Atlanta Humane Society

While more than one million people in North Carolina, South Carolina, and surrounding states, are preparing for what is being called a “life-threatening” hurricane, it is reassuring to know that the welfare of animals is a priority as well.

Florence, now a Category 4 hurricane with 130 mph sustained winds, is expected to make landfall on North and South Carolina late Thursday or early Friday morning.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, who has referred to Hurricane Florence as “historic” and a “monster” in a statement, is urging people to take the threat posed by the hurricane seriously; to have a plan for themselves and family members, including pets, and to get ready now.

That includes knowing where you can take your pets before an emergency situation like this happens. There will be some shelters that are pet-friendly, and sadly, others that are not.

While some claims report that the federal government, either through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or the 2006 PETS law allows pet owners to bring their pets to any hotel or motel during weather-related evacuations, as per numerous sources including Snopes, that is not the case. A list of pet-friendly hotels and motels can be found HERE!

North Carolina Department of Public Safety’s ReadyNC.org site suggests including the following in a pet emergency supply kit:

  • Enough canned/dry food for 3 to 7 days (get pop top cans or have a can opener).

  • Enough water to last for 3 to 7 days.

  • Pet feeding dishes.

  • Collar and leash.

  • Proper identification including immunization records.

  • Your pet’s ID tag should contain his name, telephone number, and any urgent medical needs.

  • Current photos of your pets in case they become lost.

  • Medical records (stored in a waterproof container) and a first aid kit.

  • A two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires.

  • Pet beds and toys, if you can easily take them with you.

  • Disposable litter trays (aluminum pans are perfect) for cats.

  • Litter or paper toweling.

  • A pet traveling bag or sturdy carrier, ideally for each pet.

  • Flashlight and extra batteries.

  • Blanket (for scooping up a fearful pet).

  • Proper fitting muzzle if needed.

Meanwhile, animal welfare organizations from around the country are busy trying to help save as many animals lives as possible before the hurricane hits. This oftentimes means transferring homeless animals to safe locations while also making room for any that may be left behind during the hurricane.

Atlanta Humane Society

“Our staff is busy caring for 35 animals who made the journey from Beaufort, SC early this morning ahead of Hurricane Florence’s landfall. The transport of these 35 animals will open crucial space for other animals displaced by the storm,” Atlanta Humane Society posted on its Facebook page, noting that all donations to support their care are being matched until September 30th.

“Mocha, the miniature poodle, is one of the 35 animals who evacuated ahead of Hurricane Florence and came to the Atlanta Humane Society seeking shelter,” continued the post.

Many organizations helping in the collaborative effort are sharing their plans and needs online while urging people to consider adopting or fostering.

Eleventh Hour Rescue, New Jersey

“SOS!!!! Shelters in North Carolina are euthanizing dogs and cats due to the impending storm. They will not be able to get into the shelters to care for them. They are arranging a transport to New Jersey that will leave North Carolina tomorrow. They need foster homes to save these animals. The more people who offer to foster, the more they can save,” Eleventh Hour Rescue shared on their Facebook page earlier this week. “If you are in the Northern NJ area and can help, please fill out our canine or feline foster application at www.ehrdogs.org and mention the hurricane animals. We will reach out to you immediately. Thank you and please share!!”

Eleventh Hour Rescue posted an update yesterday featuring some of the dogs they were taking out of NC today along with 10 cats.


“The van is full and these guys are on their way,” noted the organization. “Safe freedom ride babies…we are praying for the ones who are left behind.”


Florida Urgent Rescue (F.U.R.)

“Florida Urgent Rescue is here at Columbus County Animal Control in Whiteville, North Carolina, helping to evacuate dogs from the shelter as Hurricane Florence approaches. This shelter is in the direct path of the storm, and there are many other small, rural shelters like this one that need help,” Florida Urgent Rescue explained on its Facebook page last night. “Thanks to Delta Airlines, Blue Earth Nicollet County Humane Society in Mankato, MN, and Paws Humane in Columbus, GA, we are getting the first group of dogs to safety today. We will continue transporting dogs and cats from rural shelters after the storm has passed.”

Shelters or rescues interested in receiving animals impacted by Hurricane Florence should contact Florida Urgent Rescue Here!

Williamson County Animal Center

“There is a possibility we are headed to South Carolina tomorrow to help an over-capacity local shelter make space for animals affected by Hurricane Florence. We will be pulling a few cats and dogs, but we can help more if we have folks who are willing to foster,” Williamson County Animal Center in Tennessee noted on its Facebook page. “If you have a spare room and can host a friendly adult cat or kitten for a few weeks, we will supply you with the food, litter and medical care until space opens up at our shelter.” A foster application form is available HERE!  

Humane Rescue Alliance, Washington, DC

“This afternoon the Humane Rescue Alliance took in 26 animals from the Norfolk Animal Care Center, ahead of Hurricane Florence. The dogs and cats arrived in advance of impending weather to help clear space for animals in Norfolk impacted by the storm,” the organization stated on a Facebook post. “Our transport program allows HRA to make a difference regionally, and nationwide, and we look forward to helping these animals find homes here in the DC area.”

McKamey Animal Center, Tennessee

“Teams of McKamey Animal Center staff and volunteers work until the early morning hours to check in 26 animals from South Carolina shelters. 18 large dogs and 8 cats,” noted a post on Tennessee-based McKamey Animal Center’s Facebook page.

Other posts shared appreciation of animal welfare organizations that are going above and beyond.

Nashville Cat Rescue, Tennessee

“Tonight, we welcomed 8 hurricane evacuees to NCR, including Belle, who is enjoying some of Nashville’s finest salmon feast. They were awaiting adoption at All 4 Paws Animal Rescue in Pawleys Island, SC, which is currently threatened by Hurricane Florence,” Nashville Cat Rescue posted on its Facebook page. “We are so grateful to Big Fluffy Dog Rescue for refusing to leave the cats behind during their dog rescue run, filling their transport vehicles to the max.”


Humane Society Of Broward County, Florida

The Humane Society of Broward County in Florida has taken in pets from Beaufort, South Carolina, and Puerto Rico, ahead of the hurricanes that are threatening both areas.

“Approximately 33 animals made the eight-hour, 505-mile journey from Beaufort County Animal Control, a shelter located in a coastal town in South Carolina to Fort Lauderdale. The animals arrived on Tuesday, September 11th around 8:30 PM,” stated a post of Broward Humane Society’s Facebook page. “The Humane Society of Broward had already received 15 animals from Puerto Rico Tuesday morning and flights will also be arriving on Wednesday and Thursday with approximately 35 more animals. Thanks to a busy adoption weekend, the HSBC has the space to accommodate the four-legged guests and hopefully after resting a bit they will be quickly adopted.”

In the face of fear and heartbreak comes compassion, as noted by many animal welfare organizations.

Greenville Humane Society, South Carolina

“This is absolutely AMAZING! We have had donations pouring in from all over the country in response to our cry to help care for the animals fleeing the potentially devastating Hurricane Florence. We are so grateful and touched by the compassion you all have for the animals in our care. Pictured here are just the amazon boxes from this morning! We had so much fun opening them all and reading the sweet notes of encouragement and love. Thank you for all of your support,” the Greenville Humane Society posted on its Facebook page. These items will be much needed in the coming weeks as we do our best to help the homeless animals displaced by the storm. We can’t say it enough – THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!”

“These are just a few of the faces fleeing the potentially catastrophic Hurricane Florence. By tomorrow, the Greenville Humane Society will have taken in over 60 animals from shelters in the Low Country fleeing the hurricane,” the South Carolina-based organization shared in another post. “We are doing everything we can to provide shelter and care to the homeless animals displaced by this storm who have nowhere else to turn. We need your help now more than ever.”


It is speculated that Florence may become the most intense hurricane to hit the area in close to 30 years, since Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

WAN is sending gratitude and prayers to all of the people involved in this massive scramble to save the lives of these innocent animals. Please consider helping in any way that you can, whether it be by adopting, fostering or sending a donation to help with the rescue effort. More information on how you can donate is available at each linked site. These are some of the many organizations helping.

Information for evacuating with Farm Animals and Horses can be found on North Carolina’s Department of Agriculture website HERE!

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