Rescues for Pets, Livestock and Wildlife
Green, the senior director for rescues at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, traveled from Santa Rosa, California, to help South Carolina rescue and protect pets, horses and livestock. He was one of 25 people working under the National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition dedicated to animal rescue following South Carolina’s historic Oct. 4 flooding.
After working in other sections of the state, Green arrived at the height of Georgetown County’s flooding. He entered near the Big Dam Swamp community that had become isolated by flooded roads.
“The horses were looking healthy,” Green said as his teams shuttled in horse feed. He fed several dogs whose owner was hospitalized and couldn’t get back to their home. He crawled through a second story window to leave enough food for several cats whose owner had been displaced.
In addition to NARSC, county animal shelters, Department of Natural Resources wildlife officers, the Large Animal Rescue Team, South Carolina Awareness and Rescue for Equines (SCARE), and other rescue organizations have been pulling traumatized animals from floodwaters, assessing damaged facilities and distributing food.
Rescue crews from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources made about 40 animal rescues since the flooding began Oct. 4.
In Ridgeville, S.C. DNR Captain Lee Ellis reported the evacuation of two pigs, four goats, 12 chickens, eight cats and three dogs from one family, and DNR Captain Karen Swink said officers have also rescued rabbits, squirrels and even a rattlesnake.
“Our guys rescue every living creature,” Swink said. “If you find animals or birds that are sick, injured or disoriented be careful and contact a trained wildlife rehabilitator.”
When the Francis Willis SPCA animal shelter in Summerville flooded, dozens of people showed up for emergency adoptions. Animals from other flooded shelters were taken to out-of-state shelters from Florida to Virginia.
“Local animal shelters have been doing a yeoman’s job in taking in rescued animals even though most shelters are always at or near capacity,” said Charlotte Krugler, DVM. Krugler is heading up the state’s efforts to coordinate resources, identify needs and send resources to affected areas.
The threat of flooding had Carolina Wildlife Center in Columbia scrambling to find alternative locations for the 400 squirrels, rabbits, raccoons and opossums in their care as well as a red-tailed hawk and two owls used for educational purposes.
“Volunteers gave an amazing amount of support in moving the animals and afterwards, in cleaning up the facility,” said Julie McKenzie, director of rehabilitation for the Center where all of the animals have returned.
Some pet owners were resistant to evacuating without their pets. Mary Louise Resch was at home Sunday afternoon watching Gov. Halley’s news conference on television when she heard a pounding on the door. A Richmond County sheriff’s deputy said, “We need you to evacuate. It’s not mandatory, but your home is projected to be underwater.”
Resch asked the deputy to help her capture her two Siamese cats, because she wasn’t leaving without them. The deputy put on gloves, and together they were able to get the panicked cats into crates. Resch had five minutes to gather belongings and leave. Fortunately, the hotel she evacuated to accepted pets, and she was able to report to her job at the State Emergency Operations Center representing Harvest Hope Food Bank and the South Carolina Food Bank Association for the next two weeks.
SCARE, set up a covered evacuation site for horses in West Columbia and made trailers available for people who needed help transporting their horses.
Columbia veterinarian Dr. Michael Privett, head of the Large Animal Rescue Team, had a near-death experience when the flooding began. He was called at 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, and informed that 10 horses were in a barn that was flooding rapidly in northern Richland County. Privett, his wife, and three other members of LART, obtained a boat and headed towards the barn, a place Privett had visited before, but he could not quickly find it because landmarks had disappeared under water.
The rescuers heard two dogs barking and headed the boat in their direction and found them standing on the only high spot around, an area about 15 feet by 40 feet and about 300 yards from the barn.
Privett and his team found the distressed horses with water up to their heads. They led three by boat – the horses swimming by the sides while the rescue team cupped their heads to keep them away from the boat motor. The going wasn’t easy. The fences were under water and when the horses’ legs hit the fence, they thrashed. Privett encouraged them over, and when they finally made it to the high spot, they left the horses with the dogs and returned to lead the next group.
“She would have none of it,” Privett said. “I learned a lesson, don’t fight a horse in water in a boat.”
Privett had gotten out of the boat to subdue the mare, a mistake he regrets. In his rain boots and rain slicker he found he couldn’t stay above the water. He surfaced a couple of times, saw the boat’s lights about 50 feet away and knew the boat couldn’t get to him in time.
“We’ve been trained on how to right over-turned horse trailers and how to properly drag a horse, but we’ve never had training on rescuing 10 horses in 10 feet of water,” Privett said. “This is a whole new approach on what water can add to a rescue mission.”
SCEMD Monitors Subtropical Storm Ana
- Monitor local media and NOAA Weather Radio for the most current weather conditions.
- Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards and local emergency officials.
- Know the meaning of and obey warnings represented by colored beach flags.
- Be aware of potential flash flooding. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move to higher ground. Do not wait to be told to move.
- If time allows, prepare your home for a flood by moving essential items to an upper floor, bring in outdoor furniture, disconnect electrical appliances and be prepared to turn off the gas, electricity and water.
- Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
- Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.
- Visit www.scemd.org for updates and preparation information.
- All SCEMD social feeds are here.
- Real-time travel information from SCDOT: http://www.scdot.org/getting/travelAdvisories.aspx.
- The National Hurricane Center: www.hurricanes.gov.
The 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially begins June 1 and lasts until November 30.
SCEMD Conducts Evacuation Needs Survey
- The number of functional needs citizens needing transportation during hurricane evacuations, such as low income, homebound, immobile, disabled, physically or mentally impaired, power-dependent, or any other vulnerable individuals who require special assistance during emergency evacuations.
- The locations of where these citizens live in relation to established evacuation routes.
- The type of transportation assistance required for emergency evacuation, such as ambulances, vehicles that accommodate wheelchairs, etc.
Disaster Assistance Documentation
Individual Assitance (IA) Documentation
Public Assitance (PA) Documentation