Animal Advocates take in four-legged evacuees for second year in a row

  • Clay Pender of Barnwell plays with two of the animal evacuees from Beaufort during a visit to the Animal Advocates Friends for Life Center in Barnwell on Sept. 12. He and his mother, Mandy Smith, are interested in volunteering at the center.

Forty pets from Beaufort County sought refuge in Barnwell from Hurricane Irma.

The Animal Advocates Friends for Life Center on Highway 3 took in approximately 30 dogs and eight cats on Sept. 9 that were being boarded with Tara Farmer, a former Barnwell resident who now lives in Beaufort and operates Paws Hotel and Treats. Most of the animals belonged to first responders, members of the military and healthcare workers who were unable to evacuate due to their jobs.

“We want to do the right thing and make it easier for them,” Farmer said of providing her clients with peace of mind that their pets were cared for during and after the storm.

Farmer said she is grateful to Vikki Scott and her staff at the center for taking them in a second year in a row. A group of dogs and cats was also brought to Barnwell during Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.

“They are a pleasure to work with,” said Farmer, who also thanked the volunteers who brought food and helped walk the dogs.

“Our WagStaff has gone above and beyond,” said Scott, president of the Animal Advocates.

She is also grateful to Warden John Pate and all of the men in the Bamberg dorm at the Allendale Correctional Institution (ACI) who foster animals for the Animal Advocates through the MeowMates and MuttMates programs. All of the center’s foster dogs, except for one adult dog and four puppies, went to ACI on Friday, Sept. 8 in order to make room for the animals from the coast. “They are even caring for a baby kitten that has to be bottle fed every two to four hours,” said Scott.

As a token of appreciation, Farmer gave the center a cat tree for their felines to enjoy.

Farmer, who also operates Tara’s Mobile Grooming and East Coast Grooming School, is now waiting on power to be restored before going home. She runs the businesses with her husband and daughter.