Just a few weeks ago, Cortney Skinner, an equestrian from Loxahatchee, Florida, had to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Because of Hurricane Irma, Skinner was not sure if she would ever return to any of her horses.
“Equestrians are very stressed right now and all we can do is our best and pray,” Skinner said.
Skinner’s prayers were answered, and every horse was safely evacuated and remained safe. The procedures that were used to prepare the horses is why she is able to head back to the stables.
During preparation for a hurricane, the most important procedure for a horse owner to follow is braiding dog tags in their horse’s hair, painting their phone number on the horse’s hooves and removing halters from the horse.
If possible, owners should also take their horse to a concrete barn, where there is a smaller chance of damages according to Skinner.
For those who do not have the ability to move their horse to a sturdy barn, they are encouraged to set the horse free in a pasture, because if in a stable, the horse could sustain an injury.
According to WPTV, dozens of dogs were abandoned during Hurricane Irma. They were found in yards and tied to trees, left to weather out the storm, even though they would most likely drown if flooding occurred.
“Can't believe I'm saying this, there's people in PBC leaving their dogs chained to trees. County says they WILL prosecute,” said Sam Smink of WPTV via Twitter.
Thankfully, rescue centers such as Big Dog Ranch Rescue have helped save the lives of many dogs.
According to Elizabeth Kahn, a former employee of BDRR, dogs are either taken in by volunteers and employees or evacuated to a sturdier shelter. Over 500 dogs were evacuated to a safer place.
After the hurricane passed, dogs were safely returned to the shelter, but put in danger. The rescue center made a discovery that there was mold on the tiles and ac vents of their medical
trailer, which made the area unsafe to use. Because of the discovery, the center is at a standstill of rescuing dogs who need medical attention.
Big Dog Ranch Rescue is in the process of constructing a hurricane proof veterinary building, but is still in need of $500,000 to complete the project.