When the flood waters begin to rise, what do you save first? Many pet owners would automatically say their animals. But, that wasn’t the case for a poor dog in Lumberton, North Carolina during Hurricane Florence. The terrified Labrador was found by a rescue team from PETA on September 17th and brought to safety. The team has been praised for their brave efforts, but this is far from an isolated story. Many animals have perished in the storm and subsequent floods. Yet, brave rescuers continue to help those in need.
The dog in question was left abandoned by its owners as the River Lumber burst its banks during the hurricane. Trapped on the porch by the rising water, he was scared and alone. Luckily, a PETA rescue team spotted him and were able to call him over to their boat. The dog was tentative at first around the strangers, and due to the stressful nature of the situation. But, with some encouragement, he was soon in safe hands and showing his appreciation to his kind saviors. The rescuers then took the grateful animal to a local shelter for care and attention.
RESCUED! PETA's rescue team spotted this scared and abandoned dog in Lumberton, North Carolina on the porch of a flooded home with no way to escape the rising #HurricaneFlorence flood waters and were able to bring him to safety ❤️
Posted by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) on Monday, September 17, 2018
The sad truth here is that this dog is one of many animals left behind in the hurricane.
Residents across the Carolinas have fled their homes, leaving pets and livestock to fend for themselves. Many cats and dogs have been saved since the storm hit. Pork and poultry farms in the region have reported massive death tolls due to the floods. The latest figures from the Charlotte Observer are 3.4 million chickens and turkeys and 5,500 pigs. Some owner will claim to have left their animals out of sheer desperation. As the flood waters rose, there was little time and minimal means to get everyone to safety.
There are mixed views on the decisions to leave animals behind.
There are always two sides to every story. Many pet owners may have felt that they had no other option. They could have been faced with a choice between saving a relative or saving a pet due to limited space in the car. Human lives are always the priority for many government agencies and organizations in this situation. An administrator for the EPA said the following in a media release: “The government’s first responsibility is to protect lives and the health of the citizens impacted”. However, there are many residents and animal lovers angered by these actions. They can’t understand why people would leave their four-legged family members to perish in the flood water. That is why rescuers like those at PETA have returned to the flood-stricken area to help.
Thankfully there are people out there continuing to come to the aid of all these animals in need. Pet rescuers continue to put themselves at risk to save these abandoned animals. Heroes come in many forms when it come to these natural disasters. We rightly celebrate the humanitarian actions of lifesavers and charities that help homeowners piece their lives back together. But, we also need to make sure that there is room on the front pages for these animal rescuers too.