How to get and offer help for animals and shelters impacted by Hurricane Michael

dog looking on overflowing waters of river natural disasterThe Florida State Agricultural Response Team (FLSART) is assessing the impact of Hurricane Michael on the Florida Panhandle animal welfare agencies and matching up offers of resources with the most critical needs. Coordinating through the official statewide response system will reduce duplication and unmet needs.

If your animal welfare organization needs assistance with supplies, equipment, animal relocation, vet care, animal rescue, etc., there are two steps to follow:

  • Register your mission request with your county EOC. This is the only way to access state resources and for your organization and county to apply for FEMA reimbursement. You can find your local EOC contact number at; Look for the ESF17 contacts. It’s important not to skip this step, even if you are arranging help on your own. Documenting a record of disaster response needs will draw attention to the need to plan for animal needs in the future.
  • Concurrently, submit your request to FLSART at This is the official statewide resource coordinator for offers and requests for assistance. Consie von Gontard is a resource management magician and will get the help to where it is needed, but can only do so if the requests are made through official channels. There are a lot of resources and help ready to deploy, so don’t be shy about asking for what you need.

If you’re one of the many organizations wanting to help, thank you! This was a devastating storm, and coordinating the response is a round-the-clock state-wide effort. If you are offering resources (time, products, transport, receiving shelter space, etc.), please register them at That is the fastest way to match offers with the shelters that need help without duplicating efforts or leaving any needs unmet.

When you send offers to, please be as specific as you can to reduce the communication load:

  1. Product donation: Specific product, quantity, palletization, transport availability, offloading needs (e.g. forklift), storage requirements, timeline for delivery.
  2. Animal transport: drivers, distance range, capacity, timeline, vehicle type, crates
  3. Animal receiving: capacity, flexibility, timeline, transportation, crates, health certificate needs
  4. Detailed point of contact info for decision-maker regarding offers

This is a rapidly evolving situation, so please be flexible, patient, and work within the system. And thank you to all who are offering help!

For additional information applicable to all locations and all types of disaster, please review Dr. Julie Levy’s tips here.