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113 cats and dogs killed by flooding at Bahamas shelter


A storm surge in Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, killed 113 shelter dogs and cats at the Humane Society of Grand Bahama during Hurricane Dorian. (Humane Society of Grand Bahama)

Some 113 cats and dogs were killed by flooding at a shelter in the Bahamas, and even more are waiting to be transported to the U.S. now.

The Humane Society of Grand Bahama in Freeport was built on a 10-foot elevation and seemed an unlikely spot for flooding, but the 20-foot storm surge Hurricane Dorian brought to the island as a Category 5 was enough to flood the facility.


Tip Burrows told the Miami Herald the first indication of trouble came in the form of a Facebook post from a shelter worker on Monday afternoon.

“Asking for immediate help from rescuers. Please spread the word," the worker wrote. "There are 6 people in the shelter on Coral Road that need immediate help as they are in neck high water.”

The water rose so high that six staffers and three dogs eventually climbed into a crawl space in the ceiling and stayed there for two hours before being forced to swim to safety as waters receded through the shelter’s drainage system.

A total of 113 cats and dogs died, Burrows said. Around 156 cats and dogs, including 26 pets relocated to the shelter before the storm, survived.

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

Some pets that survived were reunited with their families, and animal welfare organizations are now working to fly some displaced animals out of Grand Bahama to shelters in Florida.

Ric Browde, the president and CEO of Wings of Rescue, an organization that flies shelter animals from overcrowded homes across the U.S., said his group will send a team to the Bahamas this week to survey the damage. Then plan is to then send planes to transport animals later this weekend.

"I’m afraid of what we’re going to find over there, "Browde told the Miami 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.”