Lowcountry animal shelters make final preparations, take in displaced animals ahead of Ian’s arrival

Animal shelters across the Lowcountry are making their final preparations before Ian brings wind and rain to the area later this week.
Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 6:16 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2022 at 10:39 PM EDT
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MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCSC) - Animal shelters across the Lowcountry are making their final preparations before Ian brings wind and rain to the area later this week.

Charleston Animal Society volunteers offloaded around 70 cats and kittens arriving from Southwest Florida at around 6 a.m., hours before Hurricane Ian made landfall.

“You’ve got water coming up, and you literally have nowhere to put the animals,” Vice President of Operations and Strategy Aldwin Roman said. “We don’t want a situation like what happened in the Bahamas where many of their animals drowned because they had nowhere to put them, so if we can help we’re going to.”

Officials said animal shelters in the Naples area reached out to them as they tried to move cats out before the area was flooded and overwhelmed with storm surge.

The shelter put these cats in an education room and is looking to distribute them across the state. Officials said they feel lucky they are able to help other shelters ahead of the storm.

“We’ve had two organizations come; we’ve got two others that have committed,” Roman said. “They just need us to bring them to ‘em, so we’ve got volunteer drivers coming in to transport, I think it’s almost 30 cats, up to the upstate area of South Carolina, so we’ll probably be left with maybe a dozen that will absorb with our foster families to get them in homes, as we’re trying to weather the storm, too, on Friday and Saturday.”

As the animal society took in those cats from out of state, Dorchester Paws asked the community for their help to help find fosters for dozens of their dogs in Summerville.

The community responded with a long line of cars that backed up to Highway 78, with some people waiting for around an hour to foster.

“We do not do this often,” Dorchester Paws spokesperson Danielle Zuck said. “This is not normal, but our shelter floods as soon as rain falls over 3 inches, so our kennels are indoor/outdoor and were built 50 years ago.”

Zuck said they needed to find homes for around 80 dogs in their care by the time the storm hits. By mid-afternoon, the shelter said over 70 dogs were able to find a place to stay.

“We are absolutely thrilled, and right now, I have goosebumps just knowing how much the community wants to support an animal shelter,” Zuck said.

Over at Berkeley Animal Center, officials are also looking for temporary fosters for dozens of big dogs to ride out the storm.

They will be open Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon for anyone who wants to foster.

“We give you everything – from the food to the medicine to the crate to the litter – everything,” Shelter Manager Tiffany Hoffman said. “You just give them love, and it’s just a weekend, and it’s a great way to make a new fur friend.”

The animal shelters said there is no fee to foster any animals while the storm impacts the Lowcountry.