• 68°

Rising waters force LaGrange animal shelter evacuation

Rising waters force animal shelter evacuation

By Tyler H. Jones

tjones@civitasmedia.com

Animal control supervisor Chris Bussey, right, chooses the next four dogs to be evacuated Wednesday with animal control officer Casey Olsen as floodwaters threatened the city animal shelter.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2015/12/web1_AnimalEvac01WEB.jpgAnimal control supervisor Chris Bussey, right, chooses the next four dogs to be evacuated Wednesday with animal control officer Casey Olsen as floodwaters threatened the city animal shelter.

Tyler H. Jones | Daily News

Casey Olsen, left, and Chris Bussey, animal control officers, coordinate the evacuation of 99 dogs and cats Wednesday from the LaGrange Animal Shelter.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2015/12/web1_AnimalEvac03WEB.jpgCasey Olsen, left, and Chris Bussey, animal control officers, coordinate the evacuation of 99 dogs and cats Wednesday from the LaGrange Animal Shelter.

Tyler H. Jones | Daily News

A puppy waits to be taken to an animal control vehicle Wednesday during an evacuation of the LaGrange Animal Shelter on Orchard Hill Road.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2015/12/web1_AnimalEvac02WEB.jpgA puppy waits to be taken to an animal control vehicle Wednesday during an evacuation of the LaGrange Animal Shelter on Orchard Hill Road.

Tyler H. Jones | Daily News

Casey Olsen, an animal control officer, loads a puppy into a truck during an evacuation of the LaGrange Animal Shelter on Wednesday.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2015/12/web1_AnimalEvac04WEB.jpgCasey Olsen, an animal control officer, loads a puppy into a truck during an evacuation of the LaGrange Animal Shelter on Wednesday.

Tyler H. Jones | Daily News

LaGRANGE — The latest flood victims evacuated on all fours.

Looming floodwaters Wednesday sent the city staff scrambling to find new homes for 99 dogs and cats housed at the municipal animal shelter on Orchard Hill Road.

Nearby, Blue John Creek had swelled to the shelter’s chain-link fence and animal control officers stacked sandbags outside doorways.

All of the animals — 84 dogs and 15 cats — were taken to rescue shelters across the state, city officials said today. No animals were euthanized due to flood threats and all of the animals were sent to “no-kill” shelters. None of the animals will return to the shelter.

Chris Bussey, the city’s animal control supervisor, said the shelter’s staff worked late hours all week coordinating the evacuation and reaching out to other shelters. Some shelter staff stayed as late as 10 p.m. this week.

“All of the employees here stayed late this week,” Bussey said. “We’ve never had a problem like this before.”

No water entered the shelter and the nine-year-old building was not damaged. The animals were evacuated as a precaution, Bussey said.

At least five rescue shelters across the state took in the animals, including shelters in metro Atlanta.

“It was a logistical challenge,” Bussey said. “We had to figure out which rescues would take quick animals, and coordinating that was a little difficult.”

Casey Olsen, an animal control officer who helped in the evacuation, said once plans were in place for which animals would go where, the operation ran more smoothly.

“It’s been relatively easy once we figure out which rescue group they’re going to,” Olson said as he loaded a puppy into the back of an animal-control vehicle.

Bussey said the shelter will continue to operate normally in the new year.

Tyler H. Jones is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. He may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2155.