Heroes build new shelter at shelterPublished 9:10pm Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Lowe’s Home Improvement heroes went to work this week, at the Betsy Bailey Nelson Animal Control Facility, also known as the shelter.
Ten Lowe’s employees volunteered their labor, while the national chain donated supplied and materials to build a storage shed on shelter property as part of Lowe’s Heroes Project, a program that encourages employees in a location to team together, adopt a volunteer project with a local nonprofit organization or K–12 public school and make a difference, according to the Lowe’s website.
“Every year we pick something to do in the community,” said Lowe’s Assistant Manager Michelle Urban, adding that last year’s project saw Lowe’s employees at a local softball field restoring equipment sheds and rebuilding batting cages.
But this year, Urban took the reins of the project and she is a true animal lover.
“I was in charge this year,” laughed Urban. “I got to pick (the project) this year and I would do anything for the animals.”
Urban contacted Beaufort County Animal Control Chief Todd Taylor, who was initially at a loss as to what the county shelter needed that would fit into the Lowe’s mission. Then he remembered the many tarps and totes, pop-up kennels and lights and all the other emergency equipment stored piecemeal around the shelter. Now, the shelter has a storage shed for all that equipment.
“It was the one thing we didn’t have,” Taylor said.
It’s a little known fact that when people are evacuated from their homes during a hurricane, there is safe shelter for their pets at the Betsy Bailey Nelson Animal Control Facility. When Beaufort County declares a state of emergency, the animal shelter opens too, taking in displaced pets that aren’t allowed into the shelters housing their displaced owners.
Taylor explained that the animal control facility is an emergency shelter, with its generator enabling it to run at full capacity. If emergency shelters housing people are opened, more likely than not the animal shelter is, as well.
“We work directly under emergency management at that point,” Taylor said. “They tell us to open up shop, we open up shop.”
Taylor said during emergencies, pop-up kennels are placed in the hallways to house the extra animals. While most of evacuees will find pet-friendly hotels, the option to house animals at the shelter is available.
“A lot of people don’t realize it’s in place,” Taylor said.
The new storage facility on site will allow animal control officials to consolidate all their emergency equipment, making it easily accessible for use either at home or in another part of the county.
“The big point is that we’re prepared,” Taylor said. “Lowe’s donated the man-hours, supplies and materials — putting it back in the community like that. That’s awesome.”