Northside shelters animals

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 1, 2005

The Selma Times-Journal

As the evacuees from the Gulf Coast region try to cope with the loss of their homes or belongings in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a local veterinary clinic is helping to relieve them of at least one important burden: the safety and care of their pets.

Northside Animal Clinic on Citizens Parkway is the designated pet shelter for those staying in the area Red Cross shelters or hotels.

Clinic staff said on Wednesday that they are currently boarding two dogs belonging to evacuees currently staying in Selma hotels. The dogs – Shadow from Mississippi and Bud from Louisiana – will be kept at the shelter for an undetermined amount of time.

Kathy Flournoy from Northside Animal Clinic said the dogs are taken outside twice a day to run loose in the clinic’s exercise area. They are also given plenty of food and extra treats from the staff members.

“I call it ‘cookie time.’ During my breaks I like to go (to the kennels) and give them treats,” Flournoy said.

Flournoy said Northside Animal Clinic was placed on the pet evacuee list years ago, but the staff never gave much thought about it until Hurricane Ivan struck Selma last September.

After both Hurricane Ivan and Hurricane Dennis earlier this summer, Flournoy said the clinic was “booked solid” with pets that were misplaced during the storm.

“We had lots of pets during Hurricane Ivan and most of them were from out-of-town,” Flournoy said. “With Hurricane Dennis, we had an equal number of local and out-of-town pets.”

Flournoy said the clinic used generators in order to keep the power on and the pets comfortable during the past two storms.

All of the evacuee pets are boarded at the clinic free of charge until their owners can find a way to get back on their feet.