Boca animal shelter suffers severe storm damage
ABOVE: BOCA RATON — The beautiful trees that cover the 22 acres of the Tri-County Animal Rescue complex west of the city turned ugly during Hurricane Irma. Strong winds dropped several of them, smashing the compound.
“It changed our whole skyline,” operations manager Allen Trowbridge said Tuesday morning, stepping over debris at the compound, which fronts the west side of Florida’s Turnpike just south of Glades Road.
The 200-plus animals that were in the nonprofit, no-kill shelter during Irma, filling it over capacity, all are OK, Trowbridge said.
He said volunteers and animals alike have been sweating since power went out Saturday morning.
During the storm, Trowbridge said, one tree fell into a playpen area, destroying most of it. Another knocked down fences at another playpen area. A power-telephone pole fell into a pond.
The biggest damage was in the “sanctuary house,” which housed about 50 animals that were critically ill or had behavorial issues. The falling tree actually tore out the electrical housing, which will need to be either repaired or replaced.
Eight people were at TriCounty at the height of the storm, including one who was in the sanctuary house when the tree fell around 3 or 4 a.m. Sunday.
“All the water coming down. All the animals were going crazy,” Trowbridge said.
People and animals had to be moved to the main building in high winds in the dark of night, Trowbridge said.
“We have them at double capacity right now,” he said.
Inside, dogs looked out and barked from cages lining darkened hallways where an open door brought in just the slightest breeze.
Tri-County had been overwhelmed with animals just before the storm. Trowbridge said some people had brought in animals they said were found in crates at pumps at gasoline stations.
Countywide, Palm Beach County emergency managers are asking anyone who finds a dog or cat to bring it to Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control’s main shelter, at 7100 Belvedere Road, near Florida’s Turnpike west of West Palm Beach.
Tri-County’s Trowbridge said it was too early to begin to guess at the damage figures. He said the complex had a generator, but the diesel gas to fuel it nearly was gone. He said he had plenty of food and water for the animals but really could use either a contractor or roofer.
“We’re doing the best we can,” he said.