PALM HARBOR, Fla. (FOX 13) - The Suncoast Animal League is in desperate need of foster homes, especially heading into the weekend before Hurricane Dorian arrives.
"Right now, all we know is there's a hurricane out there, and it's going to hit the state of Florida. We don't know anything beyond that," said Executive Director Rick Chaboudy.
They're trying to get ahead it by asking the public to foster the shelter's dogs and cats for the duration of the storm.
"We have a lot of fencing around here that could go down. You know, the windows are not hurricane windows. It's a bit of a danger," Chaboudy said.
It's something Suncoast did when Irma hit in 2017. Back then, downed trees prevented employees from getting to the shelter in the days after the storm.
Once again, getting the pets out of harm's way is the priority, and the public is answering the call.
Since Thursday morning, the shelter has already fostered out many of its cats and dogs.
James Hannaford has fostered in the past, and today, he's bringing home two cats. He says he just wants to help.
"We've come down here before and fostered animals, and ended up keeping them!" Hannaford said. "So we're failures."
The shelter begs to differ: Chaboudy thinks those are the best success stories. It even helps the shelter, which oftentimes brings in animals from the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center.
"By going into a foster home and living kind of the normal family life for a few days will tell us volumes," Chaboudy said. "Besides their safety and well-being, we are going to gain some knowledge that will help them along the way to find them a permanent home."
To sign up to foster at Suncoast, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteers will respond and walk potential fosterers through the process.
"When they come in, they'll fill out an application, and at that point in time, we will fit them with the right animal," Chaboudy said.
The fostering gig comes with all the essentials: Food, crates, and litter for the cats. The commitment level varies, much like Dorian's path.
"Right now we're looking at, probably pretty much through next week, Thursday or Friday, something like that," Chaboudy said.
Suncoast isn't the only shelter you can foster from. The Humane Society of Pinellas County also has several cats and dogs. You can find out more at http://www.humanesocietyofpinellas.org/emergencyfostering
You can call the Suncoast Animal League at 727-786-1330. It's located at 1030 Pennsylvania Avenue.
LINK: Learn more at suncoastanimalleague.org.
Hurricane Dorian preparations by county:
- Citrus County
- DeSoto County
- Hardee County
- Hernando County
- Highlands County
- Hillsborough County
- Manatee County
- Pasco County
- Pinellas County
- Polk County
- Sarasota County
- Sumter County