Harrison County

Animals and humans at HSSM need help to stay dry

Tabatha Marks, an associate in the thrift store at the Humane Society of South Mississippi, was pressed into laundry duty after rain flooded the building Tuesday. “Everybody’s pitching in,” she said, adding that she had already done five loads of laundry before lunch Wednesday and had “a whole bunch more to go.”
Tabatha Marks, an associate in the thrift store at the Humane Society of South Mississippi, was pressed into laundry duty after rain flooded the building Tuesday. “Everybody’s pitching in,” she said, adding that she had already done five loads of laundry before lunch Wednesday and had “a whole bunch more to go.” calee@sunherald.com

The Humane Society of South Mississippi desperately needs a new roof, even though the money is not in the budget.

The sky fell open Tuesday afternoon, dumping more than two inches of rain in a short time on the animal shelter, where more than 350 dogs and cats are housed.

Throughout the building, ceiling tiles popped off like dominoes and water cascaded in.

“It was like a little waterfall,” said Dawn Boob, director of operations. “We wanted to make sure the animals were safe. Our staff deserves a shout-out. They were phenomenal. They wanted to make sure no animal got wet in any way, shape or form, and they didn’t. That was our first priority.”

The shelter closed. The staff spent hours mopping up and two employees stayed overnight with the animals just to make sure they were safe.

The shelter was still closed to the public Wednesday, but employees and volunteers were there, walking the dogs and tending to business. HSSM also had roofers on the building, an old warehouse remodeled for the shelter after Hurricane Katrina.

HSSM’s Katie King said the nonprofit organization plans temporary repairs to hopefully keep out the rain and also is getting estimates on a new roof.

“It’s needed to be replaced for quite some time now,” she said. “We just haven’t had it in the budget.”

A new roof still isn’t in the budget, but there might be little choice. HSSM is hoping the community will respond to the need with financial contributions. Money can be donated through the HSSM website.

The community always seems to respond when stranded animals need help. After Tuesday’s deluge, residents and businesses donated the supplies HSSM needed.

For example, Lowe’s in Gulfport sent fans, shop vacuums, buckets, mops and other supplies. Lamar Advertising donated tarps. Waste Management delivered storage bins and cleaning supplies, while Biloxi Resort Rentals sent towels and similar items.

Domino’s delivered pizza for employees, who were still cleaning up Wednesday.

Thrift shop associate Tabatha Marks had laundry duty. She was sitting in the laundry room with mounds of sheets and towels that had been used to mop up.

“I expect she’ll be in there all afternoon,” King said.

Anita Lee can be reached at 228-896-2331 or @CAnitaLee1

How to help HSSM

You can donate online to the Humane Society at this link, and include a specific need, such as the roof.

You can mail donations or drop them off to Humane Society of South Mississippi, 2615 25th Ave., Gulfport, MS 39501.

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