Whitfield County Animal Shelter Houses Pets Of Hurricane Ida Victims

Monday, September 13, 2021 - by Mitch Talley
Whitfield County Animal Shelter workers Diane Franklin (far left) and Whitney Weaver (far right) stand with two Hurricane Ida victims, Beverly and Jacob Foret, and their two dogs, Alex and Spike. The animal shelter is housing the dogs until the Forets can return to Louisiana when power is restored later this month.
Whitfield County Animal Shelter workers Diane Franklin (far left) and Whitney Weaver (far right) stand with two Hurricane Ida victims, Beverly and Jacob Foret, and their two dogs, Alex and Spike. The animal shelter is housing the dogs until the Forets can return to Louisiana when power is restored later this month.
- photo by Mitch Talley

As the winds swirled and the rains emptied out of the heavens, Whitfield County native Beverly Hensley Foret had a first-hand look from her bedroom window at the devastation being inflicted by Hurricane Ida on her hometown of Luling, La., about 30 miles west of New Orleans on Highway 90.

Her 14-year-old stepson Jacob was more daring, briefly taking to the street to experience the storm up close and personal before Ms. Foret summoned him back indoors to relative safety.

It could have been much worse. Ms. Foret and Jacob made it safely through the storm, and their house was still standing, with no water damage and only a few lost shingles blown off the roof. All the windows were still intact, and branches that got stuck on the roof didn’t rip any holes. And their four dogs survived the disaster, too.

“We stayed at home till Thursday morning (Sept. 2), trying to make it without power,” she said. “But it just got too hot, and it was miserable for me and Jacob and the dogs, too.”

Unfortunately, the storm did uproot a tree in their backyard, taking out the fence around their patio area where they usually let their two big pit bull breeds out to potty. “We tried to find places close by next to home to keep the dogs,” Ms. Foret said, “but everybody was evacuating and nobody could help.”

That’s when her original hometown stepped in to help.

“I was born and raised in Rocky Face and I graduated from Northwest Whitfield, so this is my hometown,” said Ms. Foret, who used to be a truck driver for Beaulieu.

“A friend of mine up here – Jacob’s godfather – has a place in Tunnel Hill and he works through the week, so he gave me a key and is letting us stay there,” she said. “We also stayed with one of my friends from high school one night, and we stayed at my sister’s one night.”

Still, having the two big dogs was a dilemma – until the Whitfield County Animal Shelter agreed to house them temporarily, despite having hurricane problems of their own.

Because of Ida’s path of destruction to the north, the SPCA agencies up there that have been taking Whitfield County dogs weren’t able to accept any animals last week, creating a backlog of dogs here. “We’re shut down right now for space,” Animal Shelter Director Diane Franklin said.

No matter, when Ms. Franklin’s assistant, Whitney Weaver, received a call from Ms. Foret, she “knew it was the right thing to do” to let the dogs stay at the shelter.

As Ms. Weaver put it, “she can’t help what Mother Nature does – it’s not her fault.”

The two dogs have blended nicely with the others at the shelter, Ms. Franklin said. “Ida has caused a lot of problems, and this was just the right thing to do,” she said. “Beverly had to run for her life and take what she could, and we feel like Whitfield County can step up and at least help her out while she’s in need.”

“And they have,” Ms. Foret said. “I really appreciate them making space and making room just out of the blue, you know, be able to take them in for me.”

Ms. Foret says the storm started getting really bad Sunday afternoon (Aug. 29). “Our power actually went out at 1 o’clock that day, and the wind started picking up. By about 7:30 or 8 o’clock that night, it was bad. Like I said, it tore down my fence. The wind blew part of the fence down, and the tree took the rest of it out. And the tree barely missed my house, by just feet.”

Downed trees and power lines are a common sight in Luling, and Ms. Foret says it was a struggle to get to Whitfield County.

“Everybody just started pulling trees back and we had little paths,” she said. “My neighborhood, it’s almost like a checkerboard, just rows of houses, and you had to go this way and then you’d have to go this way and then you’d have to go this way because there’d be power lines down and you’d have to swerve to go under them.”

She says it’s the first hurricane she’s been through. “I left for Gustav and Ike when they came through,” she said. “We were up here, me and my son had evacuated, but those weren’t real bad. I didn’t move down here till after Katrina, so I didn’t go through that one.”

Now that she’s seen the destruction a hurricane can cause, especially one like Ida that ranks among the strongest storms to ever hit the U.S. mainland, Ms. Foret says “I guarantee you I’ll be more prepared if we have another one! I’ll have me a generator, and I’ll have plenty of gas stocked up because we were trying to leave and I was about to run out of gas.”

One store ran out of gas, so she had to wait until the next day to refuel her car. “We got in line at 7 o’clock that morning, and at 9 o’clock I pulled up to the pumps and my car was sitting on empty.”

“And then I freaked out because the store wasn’t open and you had to use a card and I didn’t have money on my cards – all I had was cash. So I was freaking out, not knowing what to do, and another lady said I could just pay her cash and she’d use her card for me.”

Then she had to worry that her “poor old car” would make it more than 500 miles to Georgia, with the power steering pump out and a wheel bearing knocking “that gets louder every day.”

Fortunately, they made it to their native Georgia, and with power expected to be restored by Aug. 29, they’ll soon be heading home again – with fond memories of the warm treatment they’ve received in Whitfield County.



East Ridge Centennial Celebration Is Saturday

South Dent Road Closures Announced

Love’s Arm And Southern Lit Alliance Book Launch Songs Of Deliverance


The city of East Ridge invites everyone to its free 100th birthday party on Saturday at Camp Jordan Park. The city of East Ridge is celebrating their 100th anniversary with events for the ... (click for more)

A pair of road closures were announced by the Hamilton County Highway Department Thursday: South Dent Road will be closed from 8:30 a.m.-noon on Thursday, Sept. 23 to repair a water line ... (click for more)

Love’s Arm and the Southern Lit Alliance are hosting a Virtual Book Launch which will benefit the ministry of Love’s Arm, a local non-profit based in Chattanooga. The small book, Songs of Deliverance, ... (click for more)



Happenings

East Ridge Centennial Celebration Is Saturday

The city of East Ridge invites everyone to its free 100th birthday party on Saturday at Camp Jordan Park. The city of East Ridge is celebrating their 100th anniversary with events for the whole family. The day begins at 8 a.m. with a 5K, 10K, and half marathon race. At 10 a.m., over 80 booths open featuring arts and crafts and food trucks. At noon, the beer garden with five local ... (click for more)

South Dent Road Closures Announced

A pair of road closures were announced by the Hamilton County Highway Department Thursday: South Dent Road will be closed from 8:30 a.m.-noon on Thursday, Sept. 23 to repair a water line leak. The closure will be in the 7000 block. This is from Boy Scout Road To the intersection with Coffelt Road. The work installing a drain tile at 7204 South Dent Road was delayed because ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Prosecution Says Janet Hinds Solely Responsible For Death Of Officer Galinger; Defense Says She Was Made A Scapegoat; Deliberations Start Friday

Prosecutor Neal Pinkston told a Criminal Court jury that Janet Hinds is solely responsible for her role in officer Nicholas Galinger’s death during Thursday’s closing arguments. Ms. Hinds is charged with vehicular homicide in the death of the rookie officer in a February 2019 hit and run. Officer Galinger was inspecting an overflowing manhole on a rainy night when a car ran into ... (click for more)

6 Chattanooga Juveniles Charged With Shooting K9 Joker In The Head In Bradley County; Joker In Very Serious Condition

Six juveniles from Chattanooga have been charged with shooting a Bradley County K9 in the head. The K9, Joker, is listed in "very serious condition." At approximately 1:40 a.m. on Wednesday, the Cleveland Police Department responded to an auto burglary in progress at Park Oaks Apartments on Harrison Pike. Upon their arrival, units made entry on both sides of the apartment ... (click for more)

Opinion

Why Is All The New Building Not Saving Us From A 40-Cent City Property Tax Increase?

With the number of homes, apartments and condos built downtown, why is a 40 percent property tax increase necessary? Are these new structures on the paying property tax role? I need to know what’s going on downtown and why isn’t that money benefiting the city? Georgia Vaughn (click for more)

Roy Exum: Yes, I’ve Been There

The email comes my way from a nurse at Erlanger Hospital: “I wanted to thank you for the columns you have written recently regarding the need to get vaccinated. If people could see the COVID-affected patients that I see every day in the hospital I believe they would run to the nearest health department to get the vaccine. It is the worst thing I have ever seen. Watching young, previously ... (click for more)