Hurricanes Stan, Tammy, Wilma, & unnamed twisters add to catastrophe
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 2005:
WEST PALM BEACH–Hurricane Wilma, after Hurricanes Katrina
and Rita, might have seemed anticlimactic to those who were not hit
by it. To those who were, including Pegasus Foundation program
officer Anne M. Ostberg, whose organization specializes in assisting
humane work in island nations, it was the real thing.
Wilma hit the west end of Grand Bahama island on October 24,
displacing as many as 4,000 people and their animals. The Humane
Society of Grand Bahama suffered only damaged fencing, Ostberg
e-mailed, based on a report from director Elizabeth Burrows, but
needed urgent help to feed and water displaced animals.
“The Bahamas Humane Society in Nassau sent inspector Carl
Thurston to Grand Bahama on November 1 to spend four days assisting,”
Ostberg said. “Inspector Thurston also delivered supplies and
equipment. Humane Society International provided some funding to
Bahamas Humane, and the Pegasus Foundation wired $1,000 to the Kohn
Foundation, a Colorado charity that acts as a fiscal agent for the
Humane Society of Grand Bahama.
“At this end,” Osteberg added, “the barn at the Pegasus
Foundation’s animal sanctuary in Florida lost part of its roof, but
the animals and people were unhurt. The building where our West Palm
Beach offices were located was badly damaged, but again, no one was
As Wilma approached Florida, the Humane Society of Broward
County in Fort Lauderdale received an influx of 19 cats and 23 dogs
from evacuees. The Suncoast Humane Society in Englewood received an
additional 50 animals.
But the Florida crisis was brief. Other than the Pegasus
Foundation, the only animal facility to report extensive damage was
the Naples Zoo, also hit in 2004 by Hurricane Charley. A pregnant
parma wallaby died from stress, zoo director David Tetzlaff said.
The zoo was closed for repairs that were expected to take up to two
The World Society for the Protection of Animals was already
funding emergency vaccination and feeding in Costa Rica and El
Salvador and investigating situations in Guatemala and Mexico, after
hurricanes Stan and Tammy, when Wilma swung south, spokesperson
Celia Wood said.
WSPA also helped the Society for the Protection of Animals in
El Salvador to built a temporary cattle shelter near the Llamatepec
Volcano, Wood added.
After Wilma, Juan Carlos Murillo of WSPA directed two
veterinary field teams on a two-week mission to Quintana Roo state,
Mexico. The Humane Society of the U.S. sent six staff members, some
of whom had already assisted an HSUS Rural Area Veterinary Services
team in the vicinity.
The fall tropical storm season had an impact as far north as
Woonsocket, Rhode Island, where the October 15 opening of a flood
control dam due to torrential rain forced animal control officer Paul
Rose to evacuate seven dogs, ten cats, and the reptile collection
he uses on educational visits to schoolrooms. The animals were
temporarily housed by the Lincoln Animal Shelter and the Providence
Animal Rescue League.
The last of the series of disasters to hit the U.S.–rescuers
hoped–may have been the October 29 tornado that killed 22 residents
of the Eastbrook Mobile Home Park near Evansville, Indiana.
Evansville Animal Control and the Vanderburgh Humane Society
recovered more than 70 dogs, cats, reptiles, rabbits, birds, and
other animals from the scene, reported Evansville Courier & Press
staff writer Jimmy Nesbitt.
Two cats and three dogs were found dead in the rubble.