Rising waters force LaGrange animal shelter evacuation
Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 31, 2015
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.