North Carolina veterinarians brace for Hurricane Irene

NCVMA collects names of volunteers

August 26, 2011 (published)
By Jennifer Fiala

Veterinarians in North Carolina are readying for Hurricane Irene, with 28 volunteers signed on to transport animals to safety if needed.

A list of practitioners available to aid pending relief efforts is being compiled by Claire Holley, executive director of the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association (NCVMA). The group's efforts are being conducted in cooperation with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Emergency Services Division.

At least 65 million people on the East Coast from the Carolinas to Quebec could be impacted by the storm, authorities report. The hurricane, predicted to be the largest storm to hit eastern coastal regions in 70-plus years, is expected to make landfall tomorrow morning. A mandatory evacuation is under way for North Carolina's Outer Banks and surrounding region. As of 2 p.m. EST Friday, the storm raged a few hundred miles south of Cape Hatteras.

Holley reports that two shelters for horses and other large animals have been set up in Martin and Wake counties. Close to 200 horses already are being housed. The NCVMA's volunteers are coordinating efforts to transport animals to shelters, she says. Some counties have collection shelters for owned animals. Additionally, some shelters have been designated pet friendly for owners escaping the storm with their pets. The American Humane Association will stage shelters for dislocated pets after the storm passes.  

As far as relief materials and emergency aid are concerned, Holley says, "we're not expecting the deployment of anything until Sunday at the earliest. Right now, everyone's on standby. We won't be able to spring into action until after the storm hits."

Veterinarians who'd like add their names to the NCVMA's list of volunteer aid workers can email Holley at

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