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Cape Coral Living Magazine

Safe from the Storm: Sheltering the Shelter Animals

Dec 13, 2022 08:00AM ● By Ann Marie O’Phelan

The shelter pets were safe and secure during the hurricane. Images courtesy of Cape Coral Animal Shelter & Veterinary Clinic.

When Hurricane Ian blew through SW Florida on September 28, Cape Coral Animal Shelter & Veterinary Clinic had storm preparations in place. Thanks to advanced planning and the dedication of staff, the report is positive. 

“We did very well,” said Liz McCauley, Executive Director Cape Coral Animal Shelter & Veterinary Clinic. 

Engineers constructed the building in 2020 to withstand hurricanes, and the elevation is high.  “I was here during the storm, and the animals were quite calm and comfortable,” said McCauley. They lost some fences and trees, and due to the extended power outage, they lost refrigerated vaccines and diagnostic supplies. “But all and all, we fared very well,” added McCauley.

Even before the storm, the shelter was hard at work as they took in dogs and cats from several rural shelters where animals are exposed to the elements.  

CCAS’ staff and volunteers helped keep the shelter and clinic safe in the days after Ian. Images courtesy of Cape Coral Animal Shelter & Veterinary Clinic. 

“We knew we had to help get them safe and secure,” McCauley explained.  

Unfortunately, those shelters received damage and flooding and were grateful for the assistance. CCAS also distributed crates, carriers, and food to people the days before to prepare them for evacuation or entering a shelter.  “After the hurricane, we were asked to take many animals from people displaced by the storm,” McCauley said.

The shelter was fortunate to receive more supply donations than they could use in the weeks after Ian.  This allowed them to ‘pay it forward’ and they sent food, supplies, and donations to the following hard-hit areas:

  • Set up food and supply give away at the shelter starting on October 3
  • Sent van full of supplies to the following:
    • Lee County Sheriff’s Office Outpost at Miramar for distribution in Lee County (2 Loads)
    • Lee County Domestic Animal Services (2 Loads)
    • Windmill Villages
    • Golden Estates
    • North Fort Myers mobile home park
    • Pine Island Community Center
  • Collaborated with Cape Coral Pet Vet (Dr. Fisher) for free clinic/food give way every Wednesday during October on Pine Island.
  • Collaborated with SNIP Collier Spay Neuter Clinic in Naples for free food give away.



There are two fun shelter events coming up early next year. The annual PJ’s and Paws is on Friday, February 17.  “We ask participants to ‘sleep over’ with the animals and raise money,” McCauley said. 

Also, Saturday, April 15 is Walk Wiggle Wag 5k Run and Fun Walk. 

“It will be a huge community day at our shelter with food trucks and lots to do—also to raise money for the animals.  Now more than ever, we need the support of the community,” McCauley said.

Further information about Cape Coral Animal Shelter & Veterinary Clinic, upcoming events, and donation and volunteer opportunities can be found at, and on their Facebook page.

 Ann Marie O’Phelan is a SW Florida resident and a regular contributor to TOTI Media.