More Than 250 Shelter Pets In The Bahamas Died During Hurricane Dorian

by Madison Vanderberg

The Humane Society of Grand Bahamas lost almost 300 animal lives when the hurricane flooded the premises

Hurricane Dorian destroyed the Bahamas last week and as the human death toll rises to 50 lives, we can’t forget the animal lives that were lost in the storm too. When the storm waters flooded an animal shelter in Freeport, Bahamas, the shelter staff did everything they could to save hundreds of animals but as the water rose, there was nothing they could do to transport almost 300 animals to higher ground.

Elizabeth Burrows, the executive director of the Humane Society of Grand Bahamas, knew that the building survived several past floods and thought they could weather the storm again. But as Dorian approached, Bahamians had to flee to government shelters that don’t allow pets, so Burrows and her staff took them in.

Burrows and her staff — like Felicia Telfort, the shelter supervisor — did everything they could to keep the nearly 300 animal crates above water, but once the water was chest high, the women had to take cover themselves and climbed into a manhole that led to the attic.

Sadly, the waters overtook the animals and they lost more than 220 dogs and 50 cats. “We had no idea we would get the flood that we did,” Burrows told CBS Miami.

“I felt devastated,” Burrows added. “We couldn’t have predicted this but I still feel responsible. My heart is broken for the shelter animals that we lost, and I feel so bad for the people who trusted their animals to us. And ultimately we could not protect them.”

The storm also destroyed the animal shelter’s medical equipment, food, medicine, and vehicles, but the center remains dedicated to the hundred or so cats and dogs that lived.

“It wasn’t about us being heroes,” Telfort said. “I was about caring about the animals just as much as we cared about ourselves.”

The Humane Society of Grand Bahamas says that their staff has “been at the shelter round the clock” in their attempt to move the pets off the island. For information on how to donate to the center, head to their website.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, a number of cruise ships have rerouted to deliver food, water, and aid to areas affected by the storm. If you too want to help the Bahamas as it recovers from the wreckage, the best way to do that is to donate donate money, goods, or time to organizations like the Red Cross, The Salvation Army, and Habitat for Humanity (Forbes compiled this list of organzations to donate to). Another way to help the Bahamas is to travel to the areas not affected by the storm as the Bahamian economy revolves around tourism.