FREEPORT, Grand Bahama (CNN/WAVY) — An animal shelter in Freeport lost over 200 dogs and 50 cats in the flood waters from hurricane Dorian.
The executive director for the shelter said her heart is broken for the animals they lost and for the people who trusted their animals with them.
Dorian also destroyed the shelter’s medical equipment and food and vehicles.
Despite their near death experience, the workers don’t regret risking her lives for these animals.
About 300 animals were there. Felicia Telfort is the shelter supervisor who, along with five colleagues, tried to keep safe 300 dogs and 100 cats.
Most of them were waiting to be adopted, but some already had families who had been forced to evacuate. The government-run shelters will not allow pets.
Elizabeth Burrows, Executive Director of the Humane Society of Grand Bahamas, trusted this building — built in 2008 with some elevation to avoid floods.
Burrows said, “and since we didn’t flood in the other storms, we really felt like we might get some water, but we had no idea we would get the flood that we did.”
But the water from the storm surged unexpectedly, threatening the lives of the animals. And in spite of the danger to themselves, Telfort and her co-workers desperately tried to save the dogs by keeping the crates above the rising waters.
Telfort said, “The water was about this high when we was doing this.”
With the water chest high and their building flooding, they sought shelter
“Making sure that everything would be safe to try and put it up high. We ran up in a manhole because the water started to come up so high,” said Telfort.
The manhole is the access to the attic, which had no stairs. So they had to pull each other up
“As the kennel dogs, them were still howling and crying. We experience all of that until they were not even crying anymore,” said Telfort.
That silence represented the death of more than 220 dogs and 50 cats.
Burrows said, “I felt devastated. I um. We couldn’t have predicted this, but I still feel responsible. My heart is broken for the shelter animals that we lost. And I feel so bad for the people who try and trusted their animals to us. And ultimately we could not protect them.”
Dorian also destroyed their medical equipment, food, medicine and vehicles in spite of their near-death experience. Telfort says she doesn’t regret risking her life.
“It wasn’t about us being heroes. It was about caring about the death of the animals as much as we cared about ourselves.”