Area clinics open doors to four-legged evacuees

Published 5:00 am Thursday, September 16, 2004

Chrissy, Charlie and Winnie scurried around the lobby of theAnimal Medical Center as they waited to check into their temporaryhome Wednesday afternoon.

The three dachshunds were among many pet refugees from HurricaneIvan who wound up at Brookhaven veterinarians’ offices. Owner JoyAnniston said she didn’t want her animals to be a burden on herhosts.

“We figured coming with three cats, three dogs and aneight-month-old baby, we’d better board the animals,” Annistonsaid.

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Anniston, daughter Savannah, her parents Jeff and RochelleVaughn and her husband Kevin were staying with friends afterleaving Gulf Breeze, Fla., near Pensacola, on Tuesday morning.Kevin’s employer, Chem Technologies, has its home office inBrookhaven, Anniston said.

The three-car Anniston convoy originally arrived in Birminghamaround 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. When the forecast for Ivan shifted thestorm toward Alabama, the family left and arrived in Brookhavenjust before 4 p.m. Wednesday.

“We’re used the hurricane business,” said Anniston, whose familyis from southern Louisiana. “We usually stay.”

This time, however, they followed the mandatory evacuationorders and left. Once in Brookhaven, the pets joined more than 100others staying at the Animal Medical Center on BrookwayBoulevard.

“We’ve had whole families come in together,” said Dr. WilliamKimble. “They’re bringing all their pets in at the same time.”

Among the pet guests were 57 dogs and 16 cats. Kimble saidanother 25 were having medical treatments, ranging from routinevaccinations to surgeries, done while staying at the center.

“We’ve got two scheduled for surgeries tomorrow,” Kimble saidWednesday, adding that the center had reservations for 15 otherpets.

With access to a second clinic in Crystal Springs, Kimble saidpet owners who were staying farther north were being directed tothat clinic for animal boarding.

Earlier Wednesday, an employee at the Animal Health Center onHighway 84 said that clinic had 10 boarders from Louisiana, with 10more animals on the way. She said that would put the facility atits capacity.

Also Wednesday morning, an employee at the Brookhaven AnimalHospital on Highway 51 said 14 animals had come in with about 30more on their way. By the end of the day she said the facility tobe full.

Four horses were being housed at the Multi-Use Facility on BeltLine Road Wednesday afternoon. The facility has 50 stalls.