While people were making their way out of town after evacuation orders were given for Hurricane Dorian, that also meant animals in the Golden Isles had to be moved out of town. That meant a lot of work for the staff at Glynn County Animal Control and the Georgia Sea Turtle Center.

Animal control evacuated more than 100 pets to the Okefenokee Fairgrounds in Waycross. The evacuation was a new experience for many of the animal control staff, including manager Tiffani Hill. Between Hill and her staff of eight animal control officers, only two were working at the shelter during the evacuation for Hurricane Irma in 2017.

The staff certainly didn’t show any inexperience in a tough situation. The animals had to be held in individual collapsible kennels that are difficult to clean, and staff worked long shifts, as the shelter had to be constantly staffed.

The silver lining from the hurricane evacuation is that a total of 103 animals left the shelter permanently, landing in the care of various rescue groups.

Despite the inexperience, Hill said everything went smoothly. We commend the animal control staff on their handling of the evacuation and tip our hats to the volunteers from Brunswick and Waycross who helped out at the shelter.

The sea turtle center began making preparations a couple of weeks ago in preparation for Dorian. They prepared far ahead of when an evacuation was actually called for, which is good advice for every citizen in the Golden Isles. It’s important to prepare for a hurricane way before it arrives.

The center released seven of their healthy patients, with the help of the state Department of Natural Resources and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation, so that they wouldn’t have to go through the shock of an evacuation.

Prepping for evacuation meant more than just getting the patients under their care ready to go. Like any other establishment close to the coast, they had to elevate all of their equipment. In total, 89 creatures loaded up into two vans and a minibus and headed to the Georgia Aquarium for a vacation, returning on Monday.

The center, like animal control, handled the evacuation with aplomb. An evacuation is a tense setting, and doing so with 100 or so animals makes for an even more challenging task. The fact that these evacuations went so smoothly are a credit to the talent and patience of staff at both locations. Hopefully, they won’t have to go through this process again this year.

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