Bullhead City couple helping animals in danger after Hurricane Florence
BULLHEAD CITY — A local couple with a deep interest in animal welfare is in North Carolina helping to save and sustain animals affected by Hurricane Florence.
Jeri and David Langman, of the nonprofit Guiding Spirits Animal Rescue, are experienced in providing post-disaster assistance to animals, having traveled to locations affected by hurricanes last year.
The couple began work in North Carolina on Sept. 19 in Robeson County, primarily in the community of Lumberton, which also suffered flooding after Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
Much of the Langmans’ time has been spent making their way from one crisis to another, sometimes by vehicle when conditions are safe, but most often by boat through the floodwaters, making sure animals in the flood zone have food and fresh water.
They do not remove animals that have made their way onto higher ground unless the animals are in immediate danger because they want the animals’ owners to be able to find them when the danger recedes, they said.
For instance, they investigated a complaint about chained dogs but it actually was a location where the owner was on site.
A stop to pick up a dead animal resulted in the discovery of a young dog on the other side of the road, whose owner had been evicted from his home and couldn’t keep the dog.
David said the dog, named Midnight, suffered a broken leg months before and struggles with the improperly healed limb. He will begin training as a service dog for a veteran.
It seems every dog and cat they encounter “is covered in fleas,” Jeri said.
Some of the animals swam through the floodwaters to reach islands or one- and two-story rooftops sticking up above the water, Davis said.
The Langmans, others who are involved in post-Florence animal rescue efforts, and residents who chose to remain in their homes are especially anxious because the Lumber River was predicted to crest soon.
“After that, it’ll be harder to get to them,” Jeri said.
What saddens the couple is that more people living in areas with such dangerous weather need to give thought to what might happen to their pets.
“If you’re not home or have to leave immediately,” Jeri said, “get someone on a boat as quickly as possible to save the animals.”
Rescuers came upon an animal hoarding situation in the North Carolina backwoods where some of the animals died as rescuers tried to save them, the couple said.
K9 Global Rescue led the operation to remove the hundreds of animals and the Langmans were among the volunteers assisting. The total animal count there reached 400 and there were “chicken, peacocks, ducks, dogs, cats, horses, pigs, rabbits, and a gator named Charlie,” the nonprofit’s Facebook page noted.
Robeson County law enforcement reported that about 35 of the animals didn’t survive their ordeal. David said the conditions at the location probably would have remained unnoticed without Florence and that more animals would have died.
The couple plans to stay in North Carolina until their efforts are no longer needed, they said in a telephone interview.
“That could be weeks or even months,” Jeri said.
The Langmans and other volunteers have made it a top priority to rescue animals they discover in immediate danger.
Monetary donations to Guiding Spirits Animal Rescue can be made at this Pay Pal account: www.paypal.me/GSAR2018.
They also are seeking donations of dog food, flea and tick ointments, slip leads, and collars. To contact the nonprofit about donating such items, go to www.guidingspiritsanimalrescue.org