Kinship Circle

Evacuees are happiest in short reunions with their animals. (C) Kinship Circle, Hurricane Irene 2011

Kinship Circle’s Mary Kelly comforts evacuee animals in a Red Cross Shelter basement in Richland, NJ, as Hurricane Irene nears. (C) Kinship Circle, Hurricane Irene 2011

Official NHC track of Hurricane Irene. Hurricane Irene Maintains Strength as it Pounds Bahamas

Wide-eyed animals weather Irene in a secure basement under watch of Kinship Circle’s Mary Kelly and Bill Allman, and four local veterinarians. Bill Allman for Kinship Circle, Hurricane Irene 2011

Atlantic County, NJ Office of Emergency Preparedness requested Kinship Circle’s aid for animal sheltering at Red Cross Co-Shelter, on Saint Augustine College Prep School grounds. They also asked for volunteers to staff a nearby racetrack, where Atlantic County Animal Shelter had evacuated. Monmouth County Emergency Operating Center contacted us to help at Red Cross Shelters in Colts Neck and Hamilton, NJ. We’re happy so many New Jersey Red Cross facilities accommodate animals! (C) Kinship Circle, Hurricane Irene 2011

Happy, safe, together at a Red Cross Co-Shelter — where Kinship Circle cared for evacuee animals. (C) Kinship Circle, Hurricane Irene 2011

Cats hunker down in a basement with Kinship Circle’s Mary Kelly and Bill Allman. (C) Kinship Circle, Hurricane Irene 2011
spacer Hurricane Irene: Kinship Circle aids animals at moment’s notice

Gratitude For Kinship Circle Responders On Ground With Just 48-Hour Notice

Mary Landford, DVM — among 4 local veterinarians leading New Jersey animal shelter operations — and Kathy Kelsey, Atlantic County Animal Shelter Manager, expressed gratitude for Kinship Circle volunteers. They were confident in Mary Kelly and Bill Allman’s capable oversight. Dr. Landford even said our volunteers gave her "freedom to actually go home and take a shower without worrying about the animals."

If this disaster served as a pilot for future models, she added, "it worked!" Despite traumatic circustances, evacuees were all smiles when united with their animals.

Dr. Langford had extra kudos for Mary Kelly, Kinship Circle’s Outstanding Volunteer Sep 2011. She praised Mary’s people and management skills. "Mary made evacuees smile because of the care she gave their animals."

Kinship Circle thanks all its Hurricane Irene volunteers, including those on standby. Disasters are unpredictable! We look forward to calling upon these skilled individuals the next time animals need us. AUGUST 28, 2011
Hurricane Irene, The Morning After

Trees are down. Roads submerged by flash floods. "It was a scary night," says Kinship Circle’s Mary Kelly from a conservatory basement on Saint Augustine College Preparatory School grounds that serve as an evacuee site. Mary and Bill Allman spent the night underground with animals. They describe loud bumps and thumps as Irene made New Jersey landfall from 4:00-6:00am.

Bill drove through Irene’s outer band, barely dodging falling trees, to get to the shelter. No one slept. But no barking or caterwauls either. Just a restless quiet, broken by occasional whines. The animals — Maltese, Chihuahuas, Schnauzers, Poodles…many kitties — were scared, but grateful for soothing voices. Tornado warning sirens blasted throughout the night into Sunday morning.

One black-white cat was particularly freaked out. Smashed into the back of her cage, she tried to chomp Mary’s hand if offered water or comfort. Yet when her family (sheltered separately in a people-only area) stopped by, the cat morphed into Ms. Sweetheart. She purred and wrapped her paws in a feline hug. A lot of crying and clinging ensued between the family and their kitty.

Irene currently lingers in some parts of New Jersey. Residents are rescued by boat from flooded homes. Heavy rains, a swollen Hudson River and high tides leave the unevacuated at risk. Cities closer to shore are below sea level and on watch for more flooding.

New Jersey’s Governor calls inland floods his state’s biggest problem now. Kinship Circle volunteers will remain on the ground until the evacuee site in Richland closes out. We are on standby for help elsewhere, due to floodwaters. AUGUST 27, 2011
Kinship Circle Is On The Ground As Irene Roars Ashore In North Atlantic States

Volunteers and animals are hunkered down for Irene’s hit. Mary Kelly, Kinship Circle’s Team Leader in New Jersey, reports that animals at the Red Cross Shelter (formerly housed in a pole barn) are now secure in a conservatory basement on the grounds of the Prep School serving as an evacuee site.

Mary reports: "We are safe and dry. Some cats were frantic, but all the companion animals have begun to settle in to their temporary digs."

Kinship Circle is deployed to New Jersey for animal operations at an Atlantic County Red Cross shelter — and on call for surplus animals at a nearby racetrack serving as an animal shelter.

In addition, we received an Emergency Declaration Assistance notice that requests our aid at two Monmouth, NJ evacuee shelters with animals. We’re assembling standby teams, if more help is needed elsewhere in northeast U.S. states.


We monitor Irene daily and communicate with FEMA, state EMAs, VMAT, SART and CART, shelters and other NGOs to track animal impacts. Evacuations alone cause animal distress. Red Cross shelters that allow animals need help. AUGUST 24-25, 2011
On Call As Storm Brews Over Atlantic

Current consensus on national VOAD calls that our Disaster Management Director Bonnie Morrison joins is that Hurricane Irene may gain momentum as it heads northeast into New England. Bonnie is compiling a directory of animal shelters in potentially effected states, along with contacts for state emergency divisions and VOADs (most of which Kinship Circle is a member).

The storm could intensify over the next day or so, swerving north toward the Carolinas on Saturday, predicts the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Hurricane Center.

Forecasters expect Irene to slam North Carolina’s Outer Banks with strong winds and then progress northeastward, ultimately touching down by the Connecticut-Rhode Island border Sunday/Monday (Aug 28-29, 2011). From there, Irene looks set to twist up eastern Massachusetts into central Maine — where official reports anticipate it will maintain hurricane level force.

Kinship Circle monitors Irene day by day, as track forecasts can be off by up to 250 miles. North Carolina’s Outer Banks is currently under evacuation orders. FEMA is staging from Ft. Bragg, with relief supplies for human victims throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

IRENE MAY CAUSE FLOODING IN MID-ATLANTIC STATES: According to the National Hurrican Center, storms have unloaded 5-10 inches of rain on mid-Atlantic U.S. states. New England has accumulated 1-5 inches.

IRENE PLOWS THROUGH PUERTO RICO: Puerto Rico, an island U.S. territory, experienced its worst floods in recent history. The disaster may force them to open a reservoir, releasing waters that could harm 7,000+ people. Initial reports show extensive damage to trees and power lines, with over 800,000 homes without electricity. Kinship Circle will continue to monitor this situation for information about animal victims. DISASTER RESPONSE VOLUNTEER spacer

  1. Independently trained volunteers skilled in disaster rescue, animal handling, sheltering, animal first aid, veterinary, photography/documentation, leadership.
  2. Flexibililty to travel to disaster zones for 1-2 weeks.
  3. Team players to follow FEMA Incident Command and Kinship Circle protocols.
  4. Self-sustainability in rugged post-disaster settings.
  5. CLICK HERE to register as a volunteer for disasters.


     Kinship Circle
     Animal Disaster Aid Fund
     7380 Kingsbury Blvd.
     Saint Louis, MO 63130 USA AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 2011
Irene Rumors & Animal News

▶  IRENE RUMOR — The City of Rocky Mount Animal Control in North Carolina plans to kill all its animals before Hurricane Irene arrives. A widely circulating email implies that most animals drowned during the last hurricane — so the shelter plans to euthanize animals before Hurricane Irene even hits.

NOT TRUE, CITY SAYS — "The city of Rocky Mount is reaching out to let networkers know that the rumors are not true. An email states that all or most animals at the shelter will be euthanized this week in anticipation of Hurricane Irene. This is NOT true. Our shelter is located very close to the Tar River, and a significant storm may cause some flooding in that area. Therefore, we may need to transport animals from our shelter to other local shelters. Our staff have been in talks with other shelters this week to make necessary arrangements out of consideration for the animals’ safety."

"If you receive an email that contains untrue information about the Rocky Mount Animal Shelter, please respond to the sender with this accurate information and refer them to our Facebook page —"
SOURCE: Does Irene mean death for shelter animals?

▶  IRENE ANIMAL NEWS — Pitt County Animal Shelter in North Carolina announced it will house companion animals if guardians must evacuate due to Hurricane Irene.

Animals are required to have rabies tags, immunization papers, and an ID tag on the collar. The shelter recommends bringing labeled collars, leashes, crates and carriers. Guardians must provide special-diet food for any animal who needs it. To ease anixiety, leave familiar blankets, towels or bedding with animals.

Pitt County Animal Shelter
4550 County Home Road
Greenville, NC 27858
(Right next to the Farmer's Market)
phone: 252-902-1725
SOURCE: Shelter Opening Doors To Pets In Hurricane

▶  IRENE ANIMAL NEWS — Kinship Circle has spoken directly to the Marion County Animal Shelter in South Carolina and they have informed us about their current evacuation plans:

  • If evacuation is mandatory, the shelter has secured an emergency location — Eastern Carolina Agricultural Fairgrounds in Florence, SC — for their animals.
  • Marion County Shelter would potentially move 50-70 dogs. Though they currently house 150-175 dogs, some are en route to rescue and adoption. Also, the shelter plans to evacuate only those dogs "housed outside."
  • Shelter staff are forming their decision late tonight, 8/25/11, as to whether they need to evacuate.

    Marion County Animal Shelter
    123 Dog and Cat Court
    Mullins, SC 29574
    phone: 843-423-8370
    email: Kris,

▶  IRENE ANIMAL NEWS — PUERTO RICO: Second Chance Animal Rescue reports 75-mile winds as Irene struck Puerto Rico. The shelter cares for 90 animals.

"We will do whatever it takes to keep them safe. Over 800,000 homes are without power, including our shelter in the mountains of Villalba. We made it through safely, but now realize how important it is to reinforce our fencing, trim large trees and have enough strong crates to keep everyone safe. Most importantly, we need to maintain an ample allotment of food, medical supplies and water to sustain us should our roads become washed away…"

Second Chance Rescue Team
HC-01 Box 3547
Villalba, Puerto Rico 00766
Mullins, SC 29574
phone: 787-847-5222
SOURCE: Friends of Second Chance Animal Rescue
More Hurricane Irene Photos, 2011

As Irene crept toward New Jersey, this cat pressed against the back of her cage and tried to chomp off Kinship Circle responder Mary Kelly’s hand when offered water or comfort. Yet when her family stopped by, the cat morphed into a purry sweetheart. (C) Kinship Circle, Hurricane Irene 2011

A road floods in front of the Red Cross complex where Kinship Circle cared for animals. (C) Kinship Circle, Hurricane Irene

Kinship Circle vol Bill Allman drove through Hurricane Irene’s outer band. He barely missed some trees that snapped like toothpicks over roads. (C) Kinship Circle, Hurricane Irene 2011

Red Cross Co-Shelter at Saint Augustine College Prep School in Atlantic County, NJ. (C) Kinship Circle, Hurricane Irene 2011

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Animal Advocacy  |  Education  |  Disaster Aid  •  •
314-795-2646  |  7380 Kingsbury Blvd  |  Saint Louis, MO 63130 USA

●  Federal 501c3 under U.S. IRS ruling, Public Charity Status: 170b1Avi
●  Tax Employee Identification Number (EIN) available upon request
●  Nonprofit Certificate of Incorporation, Charter: N00071626