Nearly a dozen died, but many other dogs were rescued amid catastrophic flash floods that hit animal shelters across the region. In response, donations started pouring in to help with damage and supplies.
Employees at the Humane Society of Missouri cleanse Marigold, a pit bull terrier mix, after the pooch was caught in the historic flash floods that hit the St. Louis area, including HSMO’s Best Buddy Center in Maryland Heights, Missouri. (Human Society of Missouri)
Historic flooding in the St. Louis metro area has not only put residents at risk, but the sudden downpour proved equally devastating to the region’s furry companions.
The Stray Paws Adoptables shelter in St. Peters, Missouri, like other local animal shelters, was bombed by the torrent of rain that brought more than 12 inches of rain to the city on Tuesday, as well as a record-breaking 9.07 inches in St. louis. Dozens of dogs got stuck in the floodwaters that poured into Stray Paws in the early morning hours, and 10 puppies did not survive.
“Unfortunately, the puppies didn’t make it, the water level was too high,” shelter officials wrote on social media. “Fly high little ones. Our hearts break.”
A number of adult dogs also held at the shelter were deemed safe on Tuesday afternoon and were taken to a local vet for a check-up after the incident. Rescuers from Central County Fire and Rescue were able to rescue the dogs one by one. The shelter allows the dogs to stay with the local vets to “decompress” before being transferred to foster homes.
“It’s been really hard for everyone,” Stray Paws volunteer Lisa Carrera told AccuWeather on Tuesday night. “They begged for foster homes for those babies (puppies) just two days ago.
One of the rescued dogs, a pit bull, still appeared in shock, board member Vicki Ferris told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We don’t know if he’ll make it,” she said, crying.
When the news spread about the asylum’s dire situation, the community’s response started and was astonishing, officials said. Hundreds of adoption applications for the displaced dogs are pouring in. More than $33,000 had been raised for the nonprofit by Tuesday night.
Some Stray Paws Rescue offices were submerged when historic heavy downpours hit the St. Louis area early Tuesday, July 26, 2022. A total of 15 adult dogs were rescued, but 10 puppies died in the flood. (Lost Paws Rescue)
The Humane Society of Missouri is also feeling the effects of the catastrophic flooding, which left more than a foot of water in the lower levels of the organization’s Best Buddy Center location in Maryland Heights, damaging supplies and animal shelters. Workers managed to wade through the high water and rescue the few dozen dogs housed at the shelter, but massive damage was incurred nonetheless.
“This morning when staff arrived…it was immediately apparent that there was a massive amount of water around the building and then inside the building,” said Humane Society communications director Laura Keller. “It was a mad attempt to get the animals to the lower level. They were all fine. We were able to get them all out and clean up because the water was a bit funky.”
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The rescued dogs were transported to the Humane Society headquarters in St. Louis via a large animal rescue trailer. The main facility escaped any damage from flooding. Officials said the Best Buddy shelter would remain closed until a damage assessment can be completed, although they are unsure if the building that opened in 2017 will survive potential fundamental and structural damage.
“All the animals in the flooded areas were moved very quickly and are all safe and responsible, but we expect to need to replace or repair hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damaged equipment and supplies,” said Gary Lowder, Humane Society spokesperson. told AccuWeather.
The Humane Society is currently accepting donations through its website and offering animal transportation to headquarters for other local shelters that have suffered more damage. Lost items that will be replaced by donations include dog beds, sheets, towels, and toys.
In nearby East St. Louis, Illinois, Gateway Pet Guardians also took a massive hit from the flooding, prompting volunteers from around the area to assist on the ground at the St. Clair County (Illinois) Animal Control Center with support of shelters. Video taken from the shelter showing several dogs standing in the murky water on Tuesday morning sparked a quick response from the community:
In total, about 40 dogs and 13 cats were rescued, according to the center.
As of Tuesday afternoon, more than $33,000 has been raised online for Gateway Pet Guardians, and all affected dogs at the St. Clair shelter have been assigned to foster care.
“Huge thanks to everyone who raised their hands to help,” Gateway wrote on social media.
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