Livestock and hurricanes: Huntsville’s ready to help evacuees

News

Hundreds of thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate because of Hurricane Michael and if you think evacuating sounds like a hassle, how about doing it with dozens of livestock?

People in North Alabama are lending a hand. The Agribition Center at A&M University has opened its doors to any livestock. It’s important this space is ready because even though they haven’t had evacuees yet, WZDX News learned just how tough and expensive it can be to even get livestock to the safe space.

Megan Curtis owns nearly 40 horses and five cattle. When she moved to her ranch, Haywire Ranch in Huntsville, with less than that it took her three weeks.

“You can’t just move them all at once,” Curtis said. “Especially if it’s a new place they have to get used to the place.”

She says more than anything, moving takes a lot of time. And if you don’t have a plan when you have to evacuate…

“They’re gonna know the panic and the rush and it’s gonna make them all hyper,” Curtis said about horses.

Curtis says it costs about $3 a mile to haul a horse and most transporters only haul 10 at a time.

Then once you get where you’re going…

“I’ve had horses escape because they don’t like a new place or they get nervous,” Curtis said.

The people at A&M’s Agribition Center want to make the transition easier for evacuees. The center has around 80 stalls and can make more room.

“They’re worried about their house, they’re worried about their animals,” said Facility Manager Robert Spencer about evacuees. “They’ve been pulling this trailer for six to eight hours.”

Since North Alabama is hours from the eye of the storm that means hours of driving in traffic with not only livestock, but feed as well.

“If they evacuate they’re gonna haul square bales [of feed] and square bales weigh about 30 to 50 pounds a piece,” Curtis said.

Folks at A&M are ready to take that load off evacuees’ hands so they can finally take a breath.

If you know someone who needs to evacuate their livestock, find out what they need to bring and who they should contact here.

©TEGNA Inc. 2019. All Rights Reserved.

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