Suncoast Humane Society's animal shelter inoperable, unsafe due to extensive damage from Hurricane Ian: CEO

With the Humane Society of Tampa Bay over capacity this week — forced to turn away people surrendering pets — conditions are even more dire less than 100 miles to its south in Englewood at the Suncoast Humane Society.

The shelter reported significant damage to its building and is now asking supporters for financial assistance to help rebuild. All animals were safely evacuated before Hurricane Ian made landfall, but shelter CEO Maureen O'Nell told FOX 13 News that the facility is no longer safe for pets, staff or volunteers.

Photos taken by staff show fallen trees scattering the property with kennel fencing taken out and destroyed. There appears to be extensive damage to the shelter's roof, yard and play areas.

RELATED: Tampa police officers rescue kitten found outside during Hurricane Ian

The inside of the building also appears to be in disrepair. Ceiling tiles are knocked out as insulation hangs from above. Tall supply shelves are knocked over with standing water in other areas. Other photos show Ziploc bags on kennels containing printed pet profiles that have filled with water.

"We cannot get in the building at this point in time. I know a lot of people want to come out and help us clean up. There will be a time for that. So, one of those needs is patience," O'Nell said. "Once we get that roof fixed, we will call out to people and say, 'Come help us remove the tree stumps' and those types of things. We really need fencing. That is going to be critical for us to get back and operational."

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One major concern is the thousands of dollars in pet medications lost in the power outage. Suncoast Humane Society is asking if anyone can assist with vaccinations for sick animals. The shelter also reports that it has employees who have lost their homes and need a temporary place to stay.

RELATED: Humane Society of Tampa Bay completely full, forced to turn away those surrendering dogs

Suncoast Humane Society sent its shelter pets as far as Birmingham and Atlanta in an early, full-scale evacuation, but now they are looking to safely return the animals to the shelter.

"The most important need right now is for financial donations," O'Nell said. "The most significant need right now is that people can donate through our website. It will make a difference. It will help us rebuild."

To donate, visit the Suncoast Humane Society's website by clicking here.