Alaqua Animal Refuge to move into new location after damage from Hurricane Sally

Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 10:33 PM CDT
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For 14 years, Alaqua Animal Refuge has been located off of Whitfield Road in Freeport.

They’ve since grown out of the location and have been working for almost five years to move into a location that fits its growing needs.

When Hurricane Sally dumped several inches of rain on Walton County, Alaqua was flooded, and founder and director Laurie Hood said the damage was extensive.

“We went four to five feet under water which included almost every animal housing building that we had so unfortunately those buildings have been damaged beyond repair that makes sense," said Hood.

The flood damage has pushed Alaqua to move into its new location sooner.

“Instead of trying to rebuild somewhere that was just going to be putting a band-aid on something, we decided to really take a deep breath and focus on getting into our new facility,” said Hood.

While many of the dogs and cats are staying with foster families, the refuge still needs a place to house them when they return.

A Gulf County man is helping by selling the refuge his old shipping containers.

“This place is so great, what they do for the animals. I’m an animal lover - dogs, cats, horses, and I can’t wait to be a part of it, and I know that this structure will outlive me doing good,” said Mark Johnson.

The containers will help Alaqua during future storms because they can withstand heavy rain and wind.

“There’s going to be times when you do not have to move animals, and that gets to be a challenge when we have these storms coming in so we’re just excited about the timing and the material, and we’re just ready to get to our new location,” said Taylor Hood, director of operations at Alaqua Animal Refuge.

Alaqua officials said the best way people can help right now is by fostering a pet or donating.

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