As Hurricane Matthew pummeled North Carolina, many residents were forced to leave behind their pets.
In the wake of the hurricane, Alex Layton — a volunteer with The Maggie Society — braved flood waters in order to help return some of those pets to their proper owners. Layton was one of the scores of rescue volunteers who accompanied firefighters and went looking for animals in Pinetops, North Carolina.
The Maggie Society is a nonprofit organization that helps rescue, rehabilitate and find homes for dogs. Working on its behalf, Layton went into flood waters on a boat, waded through waters up to her waist, and climbed through ajar windows and doors to help find animals that had been left behind, according to Pulptastic.
"We know that a lot of Maggie Society supporters are going through own recoveries right now," the organization posted on their Facebook. "This storm has caught everyone by surprise. However, there are SO many dogs/cats that have been left stranded or have gone missing in neighboring counties and animal rescuers have sprung into action. Our own Alex Layton along with Kim Edmondson and others went to Pinetops on a rescue mission and are still there rescuing dogs/cats with the help of the South Edgecombe Volunteer Fire Department!"
In Pinetops, residents hadn't expected the hurricane to hit them as hard as it did. Some of the hundreds of residents who were evacuated were only allowed to take one pet with them.
"We were not expecting any of this," Layton told Pulptastic. "We were expecting to be hit lightly and maybe three or four inches (of water)."
Layton and a crew would go out on their boats, find pets, and bring them out to another team of volunteers who were waiting on shore with crates. Each time she came back, more people would be there with house keys, descriptions of animals and addresses to check.
According to ABC News, Layton's team rescued over two dozen dogs, as well as a number of cats and horses. They even carried a chinchilla to safety.
At every house, Layton and other volunteers said they saw animals that had crawled up to the highest spots that they could: roofs, cabinets and so on. Still, many of the pets hadn't escaped the water and were taken directly out of the flood.
The animals her team saved have all temporarily been given shelter by The Humane Society and volunteers in the neighborhood. Learn more about The Humane Society's work and how to get involved here.
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