SPCA conducts dramatic pet rescue during aftermath of Hurricane Irma


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This dog was saved in a dramatic rescue after Hurricane Irma.

VIERA VOICE Courtesy of SPCA of Brevard

As Hurricane Irma flood waters rose to a foot inside a home on Ranch Road in Cocoa on Sept. 12, eight boxer and boxer-pug mix dogs and nine cats, all wet, shaken and traumatized were rescued by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals after an urgent plea for help.

The pet owners lost everything, but they were determined to help get their animals to safety.

“This was hip-deep water and, even with the jacked-up truck we had, it was not enough to get to the home,” said Sharon Naylor, public relations coordinator for the SPCA of Brevard, Inc. “The family owning the animals refused to leave their animals in the flood water in the house. The pets were perched on top of furniture.”

SPCA staffers and Angie Friers, executive director, went to the flooded home. And then the rescue began. Shane Rivard, a neighbor, saw their plight and offered his higher truck to drive in and get the dogs.

“Rivard drove close to the porch, so we could get in and get out, bringing two dogs at a time, taking them to the SPCA bus,” Naylor said.

“We tried to walk in as far as we could, but it smelled so bad from sewage in the water,” Friers said. “Rivard drove us to the house and back to my pickup with the dogs. The owners handed us the animals, and it took about five trips at least in and out. Going into the house of eight dogs, not knowing us, it was good the family was there.”

“The animals were really freaked out and scared, and the family followed us out to get them relaxed for the night. Some (animals) are still scared and some are still freaked out, but they are really warming up to the staff and will be ready for adoption,” Naylor said.

Two of the dogs will return to the family after the family finds new living quarters.

All the animals have been checked by veterinarians. One dog is heartworm positive, another needs surgery for a leg tumor and a kitten with an injured eye already has recovered, according to Friers.

“We are happy to say that eight dogs and nine cats were all saved that night,” Naylor said. “After two days of living in flood waters, they are safe and dry with the SPCA of Brevard.”   

The SPCA also rescued 32 animals from Texas. The medical cost for all the rescued dogs will be $6,000 for heartworm and medical treatments, Friers said. Those wishing to donate, can go SPCABrevard.com, to the shelter on 6035 Sisson Road in  Titusville or at to any SPCA thrift store.