• Hurricane Dorian: ‘Raging river' kills 113 animals at Bahamas shelter

    By: Bob D'Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    The death toll continues to rise since Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas.

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    That figure also includes animals who were killed as the Category 5 storm smashed into the islands and battered it for more than 36 hours.

    Officials at the Humane Society of Grand Bahama said 113 cats and dogs perished at the shelter during the storm, the Miami Herald reported.

    Tip Burrows, the Humane Society's executive director, said the shelter is the only one on Grand Bahama and takes in about 1,200 dogs annually, the newspaper reported.

    Although the shelter was more than 10 feet above sea level, it was no match for Dorian's storm surge, which was nearly 20 feet in some places on the island.

    “We’ve been through several storms there with no flooding issues at all,” Burrows told the Herald. “So the water all of a sudden just started rushing in, they described it sort of like a raging river.”

    The water rose so high, six staffers and three dogs climbed into a crawl space in the ceiling for about two hours before they swam to safety, the Herald reported.

    Approximately 156 dogs and cats survived the storm, but Burrows said conditions at the shelter were unfit for the cats and dogs.

    “Our shelter is not habitable for human or beast right now,” Burrows told the newspaper. "The immediate need is to get these animals off the island to get proper medical attention.”

    Ric Browde, CEO of the nonprofit Wings of Rescue, which flies shelter animals from overcrowded homes across the United States, said his group will send a team to the Bahamas to survey the destruction on the islands.

    “I’m afraid of what we’re going to find over there,” Browde told the Herald. "I don’t think anyone has a grip on how many humans died, not to mention how many dogs died and how many cats are there.”

    Browde said when planes are available, the animals will be flown to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

    Burrows said the loss of animals at the shelter was devastating.

    “It felt like you’d been punched in the gut,” she told the Herald. “We lost some dogs that various staff, including me, were super attached to. That’s hard. That’s really hard."

    An online fundraiser for the shelter has raised more than $70,000.

     

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