As Hurricane Irma inched closer to the U.S. mainland, those in charge of keeping animals safe and healthy had unique challenges to protect their wards from the impending storm.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office sent 426 prisoners, sending them to Palm Beach County leaving empty cells that became temporary homes for 250 animals, The Associated Press reported.
The animals included horses, sheep, alligators, a sloth and an emu. All of the animals are usually housed at a farm for abandoned, abused, confiscated or donated animals.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is not alone in making arrangements for animals in its care.
Zoos and shelters have been getting ready for Irma.
Five dolphins were moved from the Florida Keys to Central Florida.
A humane society in Tampa was looking for temporary foster homes for more than 100 dogs.
Lion Country Safari in Palm Beach County said its lions, chimpanzees, rhinos and other animals were all staying on-site. Officials there said that the animals were moved into buildings that are designed to hold up to hurricanes, the AP reported.
Some were allowed to stay in their normal, open habitats, to keep them from becoming stressed.
Officials said the gates to their pens were left open since animals can sense upcoming weather and will seek shelter when it takes a turn for the the worse, the AP reported.