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  • Writer's pictureFlorida Urgent Rescue

A rural shelter was destroyed hours after we evacuated the animals

Updated: Sep 29, 2023

Outdoor kennels would be a terrifying place to be during a hurricane. As we raced to evacuate shelters in the path of the storm, we had no idea that one of those shelters would be badly damaged and the kennels destroyed just hours later.

Without knowing exactly where the storm would come ashore, FUR followed Mike's Weather Page and focused on helping animals in the path of Hurricane Idalia. Both Union County Animal Control and Madison County Sheriff's Office Animal Services-FL had dogs in outdoor shelters, and that would be a terrifying place to be during a hurricane. In every hurricane, the actual storms are hundreds of miles across, with high winds and heavy rain over a widespread area. It wasn't a question of if they would be affected, it was a question of when.

Florida Urgent Rescue was part of a team working to clear shelters in the path of the storm. Thanks to a lot of incredible teamwork, every animal was out of both the Madison County and the Union County shelters by 2 pm.

As it turned out, Madison County was hit very hard. The Florida EOC reported that 99% of residents in Madison County lost power, and Madison County Sheriff David Harper ordered the curfew because of the "extensive damage" Hurricane Idalia caused throughout the county.

After the storm, the Madison County Sheriff's Office announced: "We have suffered extreme damage to our kennels. They are mostly destroyed, or completely inaccessible as a result of downed trees, debris, and the risk of downed power lines."

To say that we're relieved is an understatement. The animals in the Madison County shelter literally and figuratively dodged a bullet.

In our previous post, we mentioned that FUR helped get 61 dogs and cats to safety ahead of the storm. That does not include the 21 additional dogs from Madison County that Jen Deane moved to South Carolina the same morning. Jen, the Founder of Pit Sisters, is taking over as Executive Director of the Humane Society of St. Thomas in September. She networked with shelters throughout the region, as well as HSUS and Best Friends.

FUR was not involved with those 21 dogs, but we were working in parallel to get other animals out of the same shelter. Jen's plan was to try to find placement for those 21 pups, or they would have to go back to the shetler. Now there is no shelter to go back to, so it's pretty critical to find a rescue partner willing to help them. For more info, go to:

Thank you to everyone who worked together to get these animals to safety, including: Madison County Sheriff Animal Services, Union County Animal Control, Paws Humane Society, Laura's Hope Rescue, Edgewater Animal Shelter, Greenville Humane Society, Swamp Haven, Salty Paws Dog Rescue, and Florida Urgent Rescue.

Sara Cleary, Eva Ziehl, Jennifer Burleson, and Jen Deane did most of the planning. A lot of other people helped pull this off, including: Grace Hope Benson, Kelly McComas, Kim Hayes, Bridgett Sullivan, Melanie Chalker, Marcy Perry, Jessica Cromer, Lindsay Brown, Meri West, Kevin Dykes, Courtney Pierce, Annette Strickland, Tami Steinle, Lynda Gridley, Robyn Witt, Lori DeLong, Marie Andree, Anne Soder, Chelsea Tori Nancye Frank, Susan and Mike Merrill, Jana Andrews, Emily Suter, Erin Kupcha, and Valerie Losego.

Even though the media has already moved on, it's not over yet. The shelters in counties with damage and flooding still need help. As people return home to damaged homes, a wave of owner surrenders comes into local shelters. We'll continue moving out animals who were in the shelter prior to the storm to make room for incoming strays and owner surrenders.

𝗙𝗨𝗥 𝗨𝗿𝗴𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗧𝗿𝗮𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁 𝗣𝗿𝗼𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗺 In addition to running a foster-based rescue, the FUR Urgent Transport program helps save animals in natural disasters and other emergencies. FUR has done disaster relief missions to help animals in danger during several hurricanes and disasters, in addition to completing multiple rescue missions on the ground in Ukraine and in Turkey after the Earthquake.

To Donate: — Credit Card: — Venmo: @FloridaUrgentRescue — PayPal: — CashApp: $FloridaUrgentRescue — Mail: Florida Urgent Rescue 7643 Gate Parkway #104-27 Jacksonville, FL 32256

𝗙𝗨𝗥 𝗠𝗢𝗡𝗧𝗛𝗟𝗬 𝗚𝗜𝗩𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗣𝗥𝗢𝗚𝗥𝗔𝗠 Sick and injured animals need help fast. Every donation helps, but Monthly donors give us flexibility to respond immediately when there is an emergency. When there is a hoarding case or a hurricane, a dog with a gunshot wound or a cruelty case, we have to act quickly. We don't have time to do a fundraiser, and wait for those funds to get to us. Your monthly donation can help us save lives again and again. To learn more, please visit:

Florida Urgent Rescue is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and FUR earned a Four-Star Rating on Charity Navigator, the highest possible rating. FUR also received a 2023 Candid Platinum Seal of Transparency by Guidestar, and is a 2023 Top Rated Nonprofit on Great Nonprofits. Learn more about FUR at:



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