Emergency Evacuation From Flooding

2022 is off to a rough start. After snow and record low temperatures over the Holidays, we are dealing with a true disaster now. Quickly melting snowpack, saturated soils, heavy rains, and king tides have overwhelmed rivers leading to severe flooding in low-lying regions of Washington.

Heartwood Haven is housing pigs evacuated from a flood. We need your help today with the emergency evacuation response.

At least four counties in Washington have severe flooding and mandatory evacuations. Misspits Rescue, a 501(c)3 farm sanctuary and dog rescue, is located on the Black River in Oakville, WA. Their property, barns, animal shelters, and all ground are under 4-8 feet of water.

Heartwood Haven was the boots on the ground to help evacuate 65 farmed animals from Misspits Rescue over the last few days. We spent the whole day on Thursday building shoots and frantically loading scared animals into trailers. At 7:30 PM, well after dark, soaked and tired, we finished loading a family of seven big pigs into our trailer. We were the last trailer to leave Misspits Rescue that day. The pigs are survivors of a cruelty case from 3.5 years ago. We headed out to deliver them to their temporary home. The roads began to flood; we kept driving over slowly rising water until we finally hit a Road Closed sign. That road was flooded. We had to take an alternate route to get us to their new home, and they were unloaded and getting settled in by 8:30 PM.

Three pigs had to be left behind at Misspits Rescue. It was dark, they were sleeping, and we were beyond exhausted. None of us had eaten the whole day, and our nerves were shot. Heavy rains pelted us and we waded through ankle-deep mud all day. We knew that the remaining pigs would likely drown if we could not make it back.

Larger rescues and organizations were contacted for help and support in the way of vehicles, trailers, volunteers, or temporary housing for evacuating animals but we were turned away. The situation was dire and helpless, the pigs’ only option of making it out of there is if we went back.

A window of opportunity came on Friday, at dawn to make it back to Misspits Rescue for the remaining pigs. Floodwaters were rising, and only a foot away from the road as we arrived, so we hurried.

Jessica is a 900-pound pig who loves cinnamon rolls, she loaded into the trailer with a bit of encouragement, a tray of chocolate cinnamon rolls, and the promise of good things to come. Bilbo and Amy are growing farm pigs, so a bit of cake and pie had them happy to come along for the ride. Patience and understanding are always crucial to moving pigs in an emergency. They understand everything. They are just as scared as we are.

Once back at Heartwood Haven yesterday afternoon, Hope and I scrambled to install posts, put up fencing, move pigs to create more room, and get a make-shift shelter together for our new pig refugees. If I am, to be honest, we badly need a larger property. Our 2.5 acres was already at or above maximum capacity, and we are stretching it beyond what it can handle.

The floodwaters quickly and swiftly submerged the barns and shelters at Misspits Rescue at almost midnight. If any animals were left to fend for themselves, they would have drowned, we mourn those who could not make it to safety.

Hope and I looked at the aerial photo of Misspits Rescue above and cried. You can make out the roofs of the barn and shelters. This experience has left us shaken, bruised, and in tears. It’s hard to put into words what we have gone through.

Today your help is needed for a pig barn, fencing, hay, and feed. As you can see from the photo above, this is very likely not a short-term situation, and we’re going to need as much help as possible to make it through.

Please help us continue this crucial work by donating today. Your donation of $20, $50, or $100 will provide shelter, fencing, hay, and food for Jessica, Amy, and Bilbo.

With Gratitude,

Kate Tsyrklevich
Executive Director

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Join our email list to hear about emergency rescues, receive our monthly eNewsletter, learn about ways to take action, and more.

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