Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Friday, May 3, 2013
Animal shelter deals with flooding -- yet again

Flooding on Stock Island forced the staff at the Florida Keys SPCA, 5230 College Road, to shuffle to higher ground the 62 dogs and 88 cats sheltered there.

Several dogs, including Lady Vader, were relocated at the shelter when their kennels took on several inches of standing water.

"The water is still rising," shelter Executive Director Tammy Fox said about 4:30 p.m. Thursday. "The staff are all digging trenches to try to divert the water from the animals. We have to move the little dogs into other kennels so they're higher."

As the stormy weather passed through the Lower Keys, some dogs required Thundershirts, the popular canine clothing item meant to comfort them during storms, and others needed anti-anxiety medicine, Fox said.

"They get really stressed out," Fox said of the dogs and cats. "They're already stressed out; they want to be in homes, not in shelters."

Staff would stay throughout the night to monitor the water conditions, Fox said.

Thursday's flooding wasn't surprising to the nonprofit's leaders, who pointed out that they are ready to build a new shelter, complete with promised funding, but remain in limbo due to the city's slow-moving, vague plan to build a new homeless shelter next-door.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals needs some additional land -- right next-door to the former Easter Seals property the city has reserved for the new homeless shelter -- in order to begin building.

"It doesn't take much to flood these old decrepit, rat-infested buildings," said Jane Dawkins, the nonprofit board's president, in an email. "We hope to be able to start building a new shelter as soon as the City of Key West grants us an additional piece of land next to the present facility. The buildings are so unsafe that whenever a hurricane threatens, we have to evacuate each animal into a foster home."

gfilosa@keysnews.com

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