220 dogs, 50 cats died in flooding at Bahamas animal shelter

Elias Hubbard
September 11, 2019

More than 100 cats and dogs being housed in an animal shelter on Grand Bahama died in Hurricane Dorian's overwhelming floodwaters, according to shelter representatives.

The Humane Society of Grand Bahama in Freeport was housing about 155 cats and at least 135 dogs when Hurricane Dorian made landfall on the Bahamas as a Category 5 storm, parking over the Caribbean Islands for more than two days.

After progressing up the U.S. east coast, Dorian, downgraded to a post-tropical storm, caused severe damage in eastern Canada before moving over the Labrador Sea.

"My heart is broken for the sheltered animals that we lost", Elizabeth Burrows, executive director of the Humane Society of Grand Bahama, told the outlet. A massive storm surge washed over the island and water invaded the interior of the animal shelter. It was built in 2008 with an elevated foundation, specifically to avoid the danger of flooding. It ended up killing 220 dogs and 50 cats, according to CNN.

"I want to say we are absolutely overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and well wishes from everyone", the shelter wrote on Facebook on September 7, adding that the shelter is working to pay it forward by offering free pet food to pet owners in the Bahamas who need supplies. The staff members survived the storm but numerous animals couldn't make it through the flooding.

The flooding started slowly on September 2, but quickly rose to five feet, according to posts on Facebook from shelter representatives.

"The shelter's vehicles are submerged and most likely inoperable".

As the water rose to the chest, Telfort and other workers tried to elevate all of the animals' cages to protect them from the flooding. There are 6 people in the shelter on Coral Road that need immediate help as they are in neck high water.

Another dog was found in an "upstairs bathroom where it was perched on a door and debris for two days", said a Facebook post on September 5.

But when the water became too much, the staff had to find shelter.

The staff climbed into the attic through a small hole in the ceiling, Telfort said.

About 80 cats and 90 dogs survived, according to the shelter.

Then the howling and crying stopped.

Numerous dogs and cats were up for adoption, while some were left by families who evacuated the island or couldn't bring pets to a storm shelter, CNN reported.

As the Bahamas access the damage left behind by Hurricane Dorian, the storm's effect on local animal shelters is coming into devastating focus.

Burrows told the Miami Herald that the shelter is the only one on Grand Bahama Island and takes in about 1,200 dogs each year.

The Humane Society shared out a GoFundMe account on its Facebook page with the goal of raising $250,000 for the much-needed materials.

This story was reported from Los Angeles.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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