TAMPA, Fla. — Cleaning up after a hurricane is something people in the Tampa Bay area know fairly well. There's debris, floodwaters and often there are animals in need.
Compassion Kind, a Tampa-based animal rescue, has been on the ground in areas affected by natural disasters ever since Hurricane Maria. Aja Nikiya Estro has been on the ground with her team, working 20 hour days to rescue animals affected by hurricanes. She was in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian and right now, she's in Lake Charles, Louisiana, which was hit hard by Hurricane Laura.
"We worked with a buddy of mine, Doug, who has a drone and we were using thermal technology to find animals at night...You just feel every day when you wake up, you're going to find an animal somewhere that needs you," Estro said.
"The damage here is immense. I don't think it's been publicized as much as it needs to be," Estro said. She's been working with her team to reunite animals with their owners, rescue strays stuck in debris and handling the difficult decision to surrender pets because families have no other choice.
"It's been really sad. We've had devastating stories of families losing their homes. As they stay with friends or families, in shelters or hotels they may not be able to bring their pets, so they've made a really hard decision to surrender them," Estro said. Many of those animals that have been surrendered are now in the Tampa Bay area.
Jim Dwyer, a volunteer, drove a van full of dogs and cats through Hurricane Sally from Louisiana to St. Petersburg to find them foster homes. Compassion Kind works with local rescues to find foster and adoptive homes for the animals.
Compassion Kind hopes to shift their efforts in the coming weeks to rescuing animals in areas that were hit by Hurricane Sally in Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.
If you want to foster, adopt, volunteer or just donate supplies, visit Compassion Kind here.
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