Summit shelter rescues Florida hurricane victims |

Summit shelter rescues Florida hurricane victims

Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk Pit bull/boxer mix Taz was left homeless by the recent Florida hurricanes and now is at the animal shelter awaiting adoption from a mountain family.

SUMMIT COUNTY – Four hurricanes battered Florida earlier this fall, turning lives upside down and causing billions of dollars in damage. In response, the Summit County Animal Shelter is doing its part to help pick up the pieces for orphaned four-legged Floridians.The shelter took in five Florida dogs last week left homeless by the massive storms.”They just needed to be transported out of the state because of the huge number of misplaced animals that weren’t moving to new homes quickly enough due to the weather disasters,” said Summit County Animal Shelter (SCAS) director Nancy Ring. “A great deal of owners have so much loss in their lives, they leave it up to fate for whatever might become of their animals.”

Taz, Buckeye, Tara, Charlie and Simba, all American Staffordshire terrier mixes, hail from the Sarasota, Clear Water and Tampa Bay areas. All the dogs were spayed, neutered, vaccinated and checked for heartworm before their arrival in Summit County.”Simba is becoming my favorite,” said kennel technician Traci Bratton. “He has the body of an American Staffordshire, but he has these great, big, stand-up ears like a shepherd. He’s very loving, very social and very obedient and eager to please.”When you hold a treat in your hand, he’ll immediately sit pretty,” Bratton added.SCAS frequently accepts overflow animals from other shelters, which would otherwise euthanize in situations of overcrowding. Statewide, Colorado shelters have opened their doors to 80 Florida dogs since the hurricanes hit. The dogs flew to Denver and were then transported to their respective new homes.

“With adequate space and the excellent support from the community we have here, we take in transfers from approved agencies whenever we can,” Ring said.Despite a stressful few months, Bratton said the dogs are adjusting to their new environs.”It snowed one of their first mornings here, and I think it was the first time they had ever seen snow. You could tell it was different for them,” Bratton said.SCAS staff are hoping local families will heed the call to provide the orphans with new, loving homes.

“On a personal level, it’s a wonderful thing to help both the communities that have been affected by the disaster and the animals. It really does give you a warm feeling,” Ring said.Families interested in adopting any of the dogs can visit them at SCAS from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday.”They just need to come in and look at each one and see which one grabs their heart. Have the whole family meet them, including in-house pets,” Bratton said.Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or at

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