Charleston Animal Society Rescues Animals from Path of Hurricane Ida

Disaster response to Mississippi shelter came just hours before storm hit Gulf Coast.

As Hurricane Ida approached the Gulf Coast from the South, a Charleston Animal Society Disaster team was heading to the coast from the North. In one of the last pet evacuations before Hurricane Ida hit, Charleston Animal Society rescued 50 dogs from the path of the storm from the Humane Society of South Mississippi in Gulfport.

“We were flooded with calls for help and thanks to our supporters, we have the capacity to help, so we did,” said Charleston Animal Society Emergency Response & Preparedness Manager Bryant Taylor. “We made it to Gulfport around midnight, 12 hours before the storm hit and we delivered 2,000 lbs. of dog and cat food into the community for post-storm recovery and we were able to safely load animals into our disaster response truck to bring them out of harm’s way.”

From Mississippi, the dogs were then taken to partner shelters in Florida, who also pitched in to help:

Pasco County Animal Services (Land O’ Lakes, FL)

Halifax Humane Society (Daytona Beach, FL)

Jacksonville Humane Society (Jacksonville, FL)

SPCA Tampa Bay (Largo, FL)

Humane Society of Tampa Bay (Tampa, FL)

As a leading disaster response organization in the South, Charleston Animal Society has built relationships with numerous shelters around the Southeast. “It is this kind of teamwork between shelters that will help us save countless animal lives when hurricanes approach,” said Charleston Animal Society CEO Joe Elmore, CAWA, CFRE. “We continue to receive calls for assistance from the Gulf Coast States and we are evaluating how our Disaster Response Team can continue to help.”

Charleston Animal Society’s Disaster Response team is made up of staff and volunteers. Our partnerships with caring companies like Hill’s Pet Nutrition allow for critical supplies like pet food to be provided for dogs and cats during and after a response. If you would like to join and learn more about the team, go to


The Hurricane Ida disaster response comes in the midst of a continuing, statewide shelter emergency in South Carolina. People are urged to “make room for one more” by adopting or fostering an animal, because shelters across the state are over capacity. The “Clear the Shelter” campaign is going on across the state, and many shelters are offering free or low-fee adoptions now through September 19th.

Adding to the urgency is a statewide veterinarian shortage. Under state law, animals cannot be adopted without being spayed or neutered. Because of the vet shortage, many adoptable animals are waiting for their surgeries. “We really need veterinarians to step forward to help with the backlog of spay/neuter surgeries,” Elmore said. “Shelters will pay for the services, but the veterinarian shortage is hitting animal shelters very hard.”