Hurricane Irma demonstrated the need for Florida animal welfare organizations to work together in support of existing and newly created homeless animals. Our collective response illustrated what happens when organizations bring together their focus and resources in addressing the needs of others. Using our state-wide information and resource network, FAAWO and several other animal welfare organizations helped connect shelters negatively impacted by Irma with those capable of offering assistance and support.
FAAWO received offers of assistance from 23 organizations and individuals outside Florida (fourteen varying states as well as support from organizations located in Canada) and 24 offers of assistance from organizations located within Florida. Ready, able and willing to offering support in transporting animals, delivering supplies, and coordinating logistics, the outpouring of support was incredible. Hundreds of animals were saved from dire conditions and many found new homes through the grace and support of other welfare organizations and the communities they serve.
One of FAAWO’s goals is to unite animal advocates throughout Florida. Hurricane Irma highlighted ways our network works together to improve our collective response to disasters through the development of a state-wide response team. Working collaboratively, FAAWO, FACA, state and national agencies along with other animal welfare organizations will continue to learn from Irma and prepare for future events.