Home / Newsroom / PetSmart Charities® Supported American Humane Rescue Efforts to Save Animals in the Deadly Wake of Hurricane Florence

PetSmart Charities® Supported American Humane Rescue Efforts to Save Animals in the Deadly Wake of Hurricane Florence

Generous grant helped fund multiple teams deployed with two giant 50-foot emergency vehicles, boats, and rescue equipment to help animals in North Carolina

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 14, 2018 — PetSmart Charities, the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, granted $30,000 to help fund rescue operations and supplies used by American Humane in response to Hurricane Florence.

American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization which has been saving animals in disasters for more than 100 years, deployed multiple rescue teams, including some of the country’s leading water rescue experts, to hard-hit North Carolina, bringing with them two of American Humane’s giant 50-foot animal emergency vehicles, boats, and critical rescue equipment.

The rescue teams drove the specially equipped emergency vehicles more than a combined 1,000 miles to reach the devastation, moving from their home bases in Washington, D.C. and southern Florida. Once in North Carolina, American Humane Rescue workers checked flooded homes, pulled abandoned and hungry animals from porches, and grabbed kittens from the fast-moving floodwaters. Our team waded through neck-high waters to enter homes and rescue animals left behind, and in one instance, rescued eight dogs from a single flooded home. Puppies stood on their mother’s backs as their cages were flooded. At another home, our teams discovered a dog, standing in floodwater, chained to a tree outside. We carried the distressed dogs out of danger and transported them to safety in our rescue boats. Domestic pets were not the only animals helped. As they continued search and rescue operations, rescue workers checked on and fed horses, led cows away from contaminated water to dry land, and made sure a family of pigs were safe, fed, and dry. They also took care of chickens, two parakeets, and a mother pig with her piglets.

“Hurricane Florence caused severe damage throughout the Mid-Atlantic, and although the storm is gone, the aftermath remains for many, some of who were separated from their pets,” said Kelly Balthazor, regional relationship manager at PetSmart Charities. “Thanks to our generous donors we were able to support rescue efforts and crucial care for displaced pets, in the hopes of reunifying these pets with their families or finding them new homes after the storm.”

“This was a massive disaster, affecting millions of people and the animal members of their families,” said American Humane President and CEO Dr. Robin Ganzert, who had to evacuate with her own dog Daisy from her South Carolina home, and worked long hours with the national media to disseminate critical advice on how to protect themselves and their pets before, during and after the storm. “We are so thankful to our friends at PetSmart Charities for supporting the rescue efforts of our best friends in their worst time.”


About American Humane and the American Humane Rescue program

American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization, founded in 1877. The American Humane Rescue program has been involved in virtually every major relief effort during the past 100 years, starting in World War I when we rescued and cared for 68,000 war horses wounded each month on the battlefields of Europe, the Great Ohio Flood of 1937, Pearl Harbor, Hurricane Katrina, the terror attacks on 9/11, the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, Superstorm Sandy, the tornadoes in Joplin and Oklahoma, the Louisiana and West Virginia floods, the California and Tennessee wildfires, and most recently, Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, Irma, and Florence.

To support American Humane’s rescue efforts, please visit

About PetSmart Charities®

PetSmart Charities, Inc. is committed to finding lifelong, loving homes for all pets by supporting programs and thought leadership that bring people and pets together. Through its in-store adoption program in all PetSmart® stores across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, PetSmart Charities helps to find forever homes and families for more than 500,000 shelter pets each year. PetSmart Charities also provides grant funding to nonprofits aligned with its mission under four key areas of support: Preventing Pet Homelessness; Helping Shelter Pets Thrive; Supporting the Bond Between People and Pets and Providing Emergency Relief and Disaster Support. Each year, millions of generous PetSmart shoppers help pets in need by donating to PetSmart Charities using the PIN pads at checkout registers inside PetSmart stores. In turn, PetSmart Charities efficiently uses more than 90 cents of every dollar donated to fulfill its role as the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, granting almost $340 million since its inception in 1994. Independent from PetSmart Inc., PetSmart Charities is a 501(c)(3) organization that has received the Four-Star Rating from Charity Navigator, a third-party organization that reports on the effectiveness, accountability and transparency of nonprofits, for the past 15 years in a row – placing it among the top one percent of charities rated by this organization. To learn more visit

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