Months after Hurricane Michael, Northwest Florida suffers both a human and a humane crisis. It seems untold hundreds of animals left homeless by the storm have found refuge in households that can no longer afford to feed them.
Roxanne Spear runs a horse rescue ranch in Leon County called the Rainbows Edge Equine Transition Center. She started out collecting feed for the horses in Northwest Florida who got lost or were abandoned because of Michael. Then she found a lot of smaller animals and their caregivers needed help, too.
"Some animals have been abandoned, the shelters over there are all full or even over-full, and there are so many strays people are actually taking animals into their homes," she said.
But many of those homes don't even have the resources to feed the people who live there. So with the help of St. Peterburg's Bruno Foundation and other donors, Spear and a handful of volunteers will be bringing truckloads of help to Panama City this Saturday, Feb. 23.
"I'd say about 8 tons of dog and cat food and horse feed," she estimated.
She expects that trip will be the first of many, given the enormity of the tragedy.
"And unfortunately so many people have moved on from it and think it's all better," she said, referring to those in the area who either were minimally touched by last October's Hurricane Michael or not impacted at all. "It's not!"