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ARC helps rescue pets from South Carolina flooding

By Staff | Nov 17, 2015

The recent flooding in South Carolina left a lot of animals with uncertain futures.

The Animal Refuge Center in North Fort Myers did something about it, rescuing more than two dozen cats and dogs and placing them in foster care until they find a loving permanent home.

Wayne Leinen, acting executive director of ARC, said there was a rescue group in South Carolina that put out a call for help on social media. ARC reached out to them.

“We began corresponding and sending information back and forth about the animals they were trying to rehome and we were working on the logistics to figure out how many we can take without going over capacity,” Leinen said.

The animals were all part of the shelter system in South Carolina.

ARC did something similar 10 years ago after Katrina hit Louisiana. Volunteers went there and rescued numerous animals from New Orleans. Back then, ARC had many foster homes lined up in advance.

This time, ARC solicited foster homes before they knew exactly how many they would take in. They ended up taking in 25 animals last week, 14 cats and 11 dogs.

All but four of the dogs have foster homes lined up. Several foster parents have expressed interest in adopting cats. Some are categorized as “foster to adopt,” which means they will likely keep the animals.

Other foster homes will take advantage of the ability to feed the animals for free for a few months and not have to commit to them, Leinen said. The foster owners will also get free litter and medical attention for the animals.

“Sometimes, the foster parents get hooked to these animals and keep them forever because some of them are great animals,” Leinen said.

In the event the fosters decide the animals aren’t for them or if there are behavioral issues with the pets, ARC has made sure there is enough room for them to be in the shelter.

Leinen said he makes plans for all of them to “fail” so he knows there will be room for them in the event the fosters don’t work out..

“I’m sure at least half the fosters will work out and end up adopting the animals. But I plan for worst case scenario,” Leinen said.

The animals were placed in medical quarantine and will remain there until they are cleared to leave. Two dogs have heartworm and will stay at ARC indefinitely, while two others had kennel cough and are being treated.

One cat had FIV and another a thyroid issue, but were otherwise okay.

Overall, Leinen said the animals came to ARC in relatively good condition, considering they made a long ride. Most of the animals were happy to be home.

The animals run the gamut of age from between two and nine years old for dogs, and from kitten age to seven for cats.

In terms of man hours, transportation and food, it will probably cost ARC around $5,000 when all his aid and done, Leinen said.

ARC is always in need of donations. Visit animalrefugecenter.com for more information.

Those looking for an animal companion are also invited to come to the shelter and meet all of ARC’s residents in person. If you cannot adopt at this time, monthly pet sponsorships are $15 a month to help care for a pet at ARC. Contact ARC at animalrefugecenter.com and a representative will discuss the pet in further detail, or call 239- 731-3535 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.Wednesday through Sunday.