MOCOA, Colombia – Volunteers have set up a makeshift shelter for scores of domestic pets left homeless by the flooding and mudslides that buried much of this town in southern Colombia, killing more than 300 people.
“We have roughly 80 animals, between dogs and cats,” shelter manager Rose Guerrero told EFE.
With pets continuing to arrive, she said the aim of the effort is “to keep them for a while to ensure their quality of life, as well as to provide safe veterinary care.”
The improvised animal shelter opened last Saturday, hours after the rain-swollen Mocoa, Sangoyaco, and Mulato rivers submerged a good part of Mocoa, driving more than 1,500 residents from their homes.
Many of the displaced people are now in temporary quarters, where considerations of hygiene, safety, and logistics require that pets be excluded. In the meantime, however, some of them can at least visit their four-legged companions at the shelter.
While the volunteers have been giving the animals vaccinations, Guerrero said there is still a need for “blankets to keep them warm at night, medications, antibiotics and anti-diarrhea medications,” along with food and clean water.
“It is important because they are living beings, beings who feel and also suffer pain,” said Angela Hidalgo, one of five veterinarians volunteering at the site.
“The landslide battered them, drove them from their homes and left them in a vulnerable situation in which there is nobody to care for them,” she said.