Move over, Trooper.
The tiny shiatsu – nearly bald when he was brought to the Humane Society in Chattanooga almost a month ago, but a fur ball today – and his fellow occupants are about to have a lot of company.
Although Southeast Tennessee was spared the torrential floods brought by Hurricane Florence, it’s raining cats and dogs – many of them hurricane-related – at HES.
As of this weekend, HES executive director Bob Cirullo said, more than 500 animals, approximately 275 cats and 225 dogs, are housed at the shelter. Another 200 are being cared for by foster families, he noted.
Those numbers include 20 dogs – six of which are heartworm-positive and one, a friendly pooch named Stan, that is blind – taken in during the wee hours of Friday morning. Those dogs, most of which are now available for adoption, were brought here from Charleston, S.C.-area shelters in the path of the massive storm.
Still to come, however, are another five dozen dogs that will arrive any day now from Greenville, S.C., spend a day or two in Chattanooga recuperating from their journey – and then be loaded back into trucks to resume their trek to rescue groups in Northern states that have agreed to care for them and put them up for adoption.
Those animals came from shelters in the eastern Carolinas desperate to clear their cages to make room for the dozens of cats and dogs authorities knew would be left homeless in the wake of the hurricane.
The situation at HES isn’t as dire as it was in 2017, Mr. Cirullo said, when four-legged refugees from both Hurricanes Harvey and Irma inundated HES within weeks of each other.
However, he noted with a wry smile, “hurricane season isn’t over yet.”
The local rescue effort – in which McKamey Animal Center also is participating – is part of a loosely coordinated effort by the Humane Society of the United States and other animal rescue organizations crisscrossing the nation, and is based on experience gained over the years in how best to help animals dispossessed by disasters.
Ultimately, Mr. Cirullo said, the solution to the population problem at HES is for the animals to be adopted.
To help make that happen, HES has reduced the fee for adopting cats to $15. Adult dogs can be adopted for $25.
In the meantime, HES needs both supplies and volunteers to walk dogs and help care for the animals.
Requested items include:
· Cat litter
· Dog and cat food (both wet and dry)
· Dog and cat toys
· Dog and cat treats
· Latex gloves
· Paper towels
· Towels, shampoo and other materials needed to wash new arrivals
HES also needs financial contributions to help cover the cost of overtime accrued by employees dealing with the disaster-related influx of animals.
To help, contact HES by calling (423) 624-5302, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting the shelter this afternoon or during regular hours Monday through Saturday.