South Florida SPCA asks community to help recover from Irma

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - The South Florida SPCA and their horses are still dealing with the damage Hurricane Irma brought and are ready to get back up and running.

Operators need the ranch to get back to normalcy in order to help the animals who take shelter there, but that may take a while.

It’s been over a week after Hurricane Irma came through and the destruction is still evident. Downed fences and badly damaged shelters, some even missing, are still where the storm left it.

Inches of water that flooded the land has since receded and much of the debris has been cleared but things are still not back to normal.

“Until we get our fences up, we can’t bring animals home,” said Lisa Oppenheimer, director of ranch operations.

Laurie Waggoner, the director of rescue operations, said that the priority is to bring the horses back. They were sent to Ocala ahead of the storm, and that’s where they remain for a daily boarding fee.

Oppenheimer said the rescue work in South Florida can’t efficiently continue in facility as it stands now because horses arrive at the ranch neglected, with medical issues and in need of shelter.

“We can’t provide that to them, especially if they need wounds to be treated if they’re not in a safe environment. We can’t contain them safely if our fences are down and we have debris laying everywhere,” Oppenheimer said.

Their work has been interrupted but cannot come to a complete halt. A few rescue horses were brought to them since the hurricane, like one stallion which was picked up Tuesday night.

“This horse was starved and neglected long before the hurricane ever started,” Waggoner said. “They just took this as an opportunity to, if things weren’t bad enough for the horse, then they just throw them out to deal with the hurricane.”

Waggoner said the horse was dumped in the east Everglades. They’ve already started to nurse him back to health, but now they need the community to help the South Florida SPCA get back to normal.

“We need to get this place fixed back up,” Waggoner said.

The call is out to contractors and for donations. If you’d like to lend a hand, you can give them a call at 305-825-8826 or send an email to info@helpthehorses.org.

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