(CN) – A network of animal lovers is helping owners find sanctuary for their horses, goats and pigs as they evacuate Eastern North Carolina ahead of Hurricane Florence.
The North Carolina counties that have been mandatorily evacuated are home to hundreds of horses and small farms. Brunswick County alone has about 282 owned horses, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
“It would not surprise me if there are a lot of people who are unable to transport their horses and other animals to safety. It is devastating and it really breaks my heart.” said Darlene Kindele, the founder and executive officer of Carolina Equine Rescue and Assistance.
Kindele’s organization is working with another equine protection organization, Fleet of Angels, to transport and find homes for animals in places that are safer than coastal areas and low-lying plains.
Fleet of Angels is a national network that focuses on quickly evacuating equines from natural disasters and works alongside the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
On Wednesday night, Kindele said, she took in a thoroughbred horse, four goats and a pig who were in danger of being left behind as the owners had to evacuate their home in Wilmington, North Carolina. In a last-ditch effort to save them, the owners were able to contact Kindele and the animals were picked up in transport vehicles in less than an hour.
The animals are now safe on her farm in Wingate, where preparations for heavy rain and power loss are underway.
Kindele said she understands that people need to do what they can to keep their families safe, even if that means leaving these large animals behind, but her advice to families who are evacuating; “Don’t give up making that last call.”