WASHINGTON COUNTY, Okla. — Animals were evacuated from the Washington County SPCA in the early morning hours Tuesday.
The road in front of the shelter was under water and all of the shelter's buildings surrounded by water on Tuesday afternoon. /
Executive Director Tonya Pete said they had about two hours to transport the animals before the road was blocked off.
This type of rainfall is what Pete has been worried about.
She said the shelter, built near the Caney River in the 60s, sits on a floodplain where it has been flooded multiple times through the years.
The damage has caused it to become dilapidated.
The Caney River is considered flooded at 13 feet, and as of Tuesday evening, sits at a little more than 18 feet.
"Yesterday, they thought the river was not going to hit its peak until tonight," Pete said. "We kept monitoring it and thought if we have to evacuate, we’ll evacuate Tuesday morning, but as the day went on and the storms continued, we just got pounded with so much rain so fast that the river rose from 4 feet all the way to 13 feet in no time."
Pete said they had to move 181 animals out of the shelter.
They put a call out to the community, asking for families to foster an animal until they could be brought back to the shelter.
The remainder of the animals are at shelter’s spay and neuter facility.
That’s also where they have additional land where they hope to build a new shelter one day, so they won’t have to go through these extremes to protect the animals the next time it rains like this again.
If you would like to help donate towards a new shelter, click here.
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