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Many Gila Bend residents and their pets homeless after flooding

Posted at 4:27 AM, Aug 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-19 08:16:59-04

GILA BEND, AZ — More than 120 Gila Bend residents remain displaced after damaging storms, according to Mayor Chris Riggs. Some of those people have pets that cannot go with them to shelters, hotels, or homes of friends -- and that's where the Arizona Humane Society has stepped in.

AHS has set up a temporary shelter at the old Gila Bend High School, taking in roughly three dozen dogs and even birds.

The goal is to lessen the burden for pet owners who are also trying to clean up and begin the rebuilding process after this weekend's deadly flooding.

Two people died after monsoon storms moved in. More than 140 homes and more than a dozen businesses were damaged, causing millions of dollars in damage.

Governor Doug Ducey issued a disaster declaration for the town of 2,100 earlier this week.

RELATED: Flooding clean-up just beginning for many in Gila Bend

"Dennie" is one of the many Gila Bend residents using the AHS shelter for her dog, Tai, a 10-year-old chihuahua mix.

"It's really heartbreaking to see people that you love, having to go through what's going on," explains Dennie.

Still waiting to see if her home is safe, Dennie has been staying at the Salvation Army shelter in Gila Bend while Tai stays across the parking lot at the AHS shelter, meaning she can drop by whenever she likes. In fact, she's been spending most of her days at his side.

But it's not just Tai -- many other Gila Bend residents have also needed the services of the Humane Society.

Gila Bend braces for more storm damage

"We're here to give them a safe, comfortable place and make the pets feel comfortable as well as the people because we know if they don't feel comfortable, they may not evacuate if they can't take their pets," explains Michelle Parks Wilson with AHS.

The temporary shelter is staffed 24/7 with AHS workers setting up cots and actually spending the night there to care for the animals.

There is even a doctor on staff to take care of any medical issues.

For more information or to donate, head to the AHS website.

Maricopa County has also set up a website with information to help those impacted by the Gila Bend flooding. Resources include places to get help with food, utilities, home re-entry, inspections, animal care, legal advice, and much more.