San Diegans Florida aids in pet rescue efforts

High winds and destructive flooding didn’t stop four San Diegan residents from heading to Florida to help pets and animals affected by Hurricane Ian.

SAN DIEGO – A group of San Diegans are volunteering their time to travel to Florida on Sunday to help animals devastated and lost due to the destruction from Hurricane Ian.

Four people from San Diego deployed to Florida on Friday morning to help with water rescues and the search for animals in distress.

“As you can see, [we’re] kind of going house to house right now, street to street checking to see if anyone needs pet supplies, dog food, cat food,” said Lt. Clint Ganus of the San Diego Humane Society search and rescue team. He spoke with CBS 8 of Sarasota, Florida by phone.

The video revealed crippling damage left by Hurricane Ian as Lt. Clint Ganus walked through flood waters that separated small and large animals from their families.

However, high winds and destructive flooding didn’t stop him and three other San Diegan residents from traveling to Florida to provide additional help for pets and animals in need.

“So we’re just going to do search and rescue for the animals that are loose in the community,” Ganus said.

Summer Piper of the San Diego Humane Society said residents barely had food or even shelter for their families, let alone their pets.

“We asked anyone, went door to door, members of the community to see if they saw anything, if they had animals or needs. There were a lot of requests for food for dogs,” Piper said.

For lost animals unable to evacuate with their owners, SDHS fears they could be trapped or attempt to survive by sheltering above demolished ceilings that once housed their own family’s home.

“Today we did our first field assessment missions, so we assessed a few neighborhoods in Fort Myers Beach, and then a little inland there was a lake area that had been pretty well flooded,” Piper said.

As teams in San Diego prepared to help, other rescue teams in Florida assisted residents and their pets by rescuing them from deep water or inside their damaged homes.

Some even had to be airlifted with their pets to escape the dangerous floods.

As for the zoo animals, Florida Zoo keepers said they were always prepared for environmental disasters and had housed the animals safely in barns.

Rescue teams have planned additional search efforts around Lee County and are prepared for the worst.

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