“Hurricane Horses” displaced by Matthew evacuate to Greenville County

Hurricane Horse from Charleston.

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA-TV) – Coastal evacuations have not only extended to people, but also animals of all sizes.

In many cases, it’s a big job to make room, but Greenville County has turned into the hub for evacuated animals. From the county shelter to the equestrian park, volunteers are stepping up to save pets.

“You guys want to go down to South Carolina to get some dogs?’ We said sure, alright and we headed out,” said rescuer, Ashton Gonzales.

Gonzalez made the treck all the way from the duchess county New York SPCA. Bright and early, Friday, they headed back to the Empire State with dogs in tow. It is all to make room at Greenville County Animal Care for evacuated animals from the coast.

“This transport plan is actually something we did for the first time last year during the floods. And it worked so well we started duplicating it again,” explained Kim Kelly, state director for the Humane Society of the US.

Top Sail Equestrian near Charleston knew they’d have to get their entire stables out of Hurricane Matthew’s path.

“I was always worried about the day that we’d have to evacuate,” explained owner, Sara Turraigo.

Fortunately, Riverbend Equestrian Park – part of the Greenville County Parks and Rec – was able to step up.

“I was happy to be able to do it and social media was kind of an interesting aspect of it. I put something on Facebook on an equestrian group and she saw it and contacted me and we were very happy to host her,” said Jenna Riccato, Riverbend Equestrian Park Manager.

48 hours on no sleep, they made multiple cross-state trips to get their 25 show horses to safety.

“It was kind of like bringing 25 horses to a horse show, but less fun. More traffic and we don’t even get a ribbon at the end,” said Turraigo.

Fortunately they are riding out the storm, safely. They are grateful for the space to protect the horses that are more like children.

Upstate suppliers have donated feed and supplies to help the 30 coastal horses, total, that are being housed at river bend. The Greenville Foothills Pony Club is also volunteering, doing barn chores and helping to walk the horses.They say it’s a team effort and they are just glad to be able to help.

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