Local animal shelter recovering after Hurricane Matthew

The Frances R. Willis SPCA in Summerville was underwater last year during the historic flood.

Abigail Kamleiter, Project Manager of No Kill South Carolina, says, “We were really concerned that that was going to happen again.”

More than a foot and a half of water was in the kennels. Luckily, all the animals went to emergency foster homes, but the damage was extensive.

Cindy Chitty, Frances Willis SPCA’s 1st Vice President, says, “The office was gutted, the dry wall, the wiring, we still have wiring issues with the phones. We’ve lost a dryer, a refrigerator, a freezer, a water heater, because it took time for some of the damage to rust out and we didn’t really know it was damaged at the time.”

Before last October, the shelter had never flooded before.

Chitty says, “Everybody was caught by surprise, so things were not as prepared as they should have been.”

Fortunately, the SPCA fared much better during Hurricane Matthew, but just to be safe, they evacuated all of the animals to foster homes or the Charleston Animal Society.

Kamleiter says, “We didn’t want to have any animals left, or as few as we possibly could here at the shelter, just in case the worst happened.”

Luckily, no flooding during Hurricane Matthew thanks to a new pump and ditch in the yard.

Kamleiter says, “Last fall the pump was not working, so this area here in between the two kennels was full of water, partly because the pump didn’t work and partly because it is chopped off by this sidewalk here. So, the county came in and were nice enough to remove part of this sidewalk so that it didn’t pool the way it had before.”

Some of the dogs were evacuated to rescues in Baltimore and will be adopted there. The rest of the animals are back at the SPCA and are ready for a new home.

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