By: Staff  Date: 09/25/2004

As with previous hurricanes, Charley left many of Florida's animals in the hands of fate. But because of the American Kennel Club, the Florida Association of Kennel Clubs (Diane Albers at the helm), the AKC Companion Animal Recovery (CAR), Purina and a score of humane organizations - their fate is in good hands. Here are just a few photos to show the efforts of our dedicated friends:

Following natural disasters clean water is often in scarce supply. AKC sent this truck in with the first water some areas had seen in several days. Smaller trucks took water from this vehicle and distributed it to ranches and farms where livestock were in need of fresh potable water. The Florida Association of Kennel Clubs sent in two 18 wheelers, one the night after Charley and another the following day. The first was loaded with crates, medicines, ringers lactate, bowls, flea and fly sprays, pooper scoopers, paper towels, cloth towels and similar supplies. The second truck carried barbed wire, field fence, salt blocks, sweet feed, construction wire and specific medicines as needed.

AKC sent in a second shipment of wire crates and then airline crates. AKCCAR provided microchips. By the next Monday this unit was fully supplied.

Purina sent in two 18 wheelers with dog and cat, kitten and puppy food. A third truck of Purina dog food went to Bartow Shelter and a fourth went into Wauchula, which was shared with Arcadia.

The photos are of the Wauchula Temporary shelter, which not only cared for animals but also served as a distribution center to other shelters needing supplies. Small and large animal veterinarians were in attendance. Hardee County Animal Control is now taking care of the Wauchula site.

According to Diane Albers, the driving force behind the effort, volunteers came from all over the state, some breeders driving 4-6 hours, and working 7 hours every day. In addition to the more standard house pets, they got a work out feeding, watering and housing everything from turtles, fish, birds, ferrets, rabbits, hamsters, goats, pigs, chickens, cattle, horses, donkeys and llamas. Diane says that she is "so proud to be part of our AKC family of dog breeders. With each disaster we've faced in Florida, they manage to keep me going with all their energy, compassion and their wonderful giving qualities." As the memory of Hurricane Charley subsides, though, Frances approaches and the volunteers await another call.

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