Evacuees fleeing Hurricane Florence with their horses or livestock in tow might be worried about finding a place to safely house their animals while they wait out the storm.
The Jacksonville Equestrian Center and Camp Declan in Interlachen are stepping up and opening their facilities to equine evacuees.
JEC said that as long as Jacksonville, Florida, remains unaffected by the hurricane and is not a mandatory evacuation zone, its 400 stalls and over 60 full hookup RV sites at 13611 Normandy Blvd. will be available for those in need.
By Thursday morning, more than 40 horses were already being housed at the facility as many of their owners decided early to head away from the storm.
Gia Fazio and her 11 horses traveled almost 200 miles from South Carolina to flee the path of Hurricane Florence. They are staying at the JEC.
“The house is a house but the people are what matter and so are the animals,” Fazio said. “You pack up what’s important to you, and it turns out it’s just a few pictures and maybe some documents and what you take with you is what counts.”
Evacuated is a routine Fazio and her horses are unfortunately familiar with after also trying to avoid Hurricane Irma last year.
“It’s very alarming, having done this twice now,” Fazio said.
Gia said it means the world to her to be able to bring her horses somewhere with all the facilities to make it feel like home despite the chaos and unknowns.
“The horse world, the more I get into it, the smaller it becomes,” Fazio said.
Candice Barnes, who is coordinating the JEC evacuees housing effort, said taking in the horses is the least they can do after all the help they received during Irma last year.
“It gave us a better understanding of what people are looking for to be calm and gave everybody the power to know that everything’s going to be OK,” Barnes said.
Stalls are $5 per stall per night (prices do not include tax). Shavings are available onsite and can be purchased for $8.56 a bag (price includes tax).
In addition to primitive camping, 30 and 50 amp RV Hook ups are available. To reserve a stall or RV hookup, fill out the form online at http://www.jaxequestriancenter.com/facilities/emergency-evacuations.
Local feed stores can service feed and hay needs.
Availability and length of stay is dependent on the event schedule and will be negotiated individually based on need, JEC representatives said.
Volunteers are on call and available to help feed, water, muck stalls and care for horses where needed.
All horses must have a negative Coggins. Please email proof of negative Coggins to Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No charges will be incurred until move in, to allow for last-minute changes. Stalls will be unlocked upon arrival.
All hurricane evacuation inquiries should be directed to Barnes at email@example.com.
Camp Declan in Interlachen, Florida, is also providing emergency housing with acreage for large animals being evacuated from the storm, including horses and livestock.
RVs, boats and trailers are also welcome, and the facility can also house 18 people.
More information is available at https://www.campdeclan.com or call D.H. Reiley at 904-955-4300.
The JEC also put out a call on Facebook for anyone who can accommodate horses or livestock, and several people have responded with information on available space. For more, click on the comment icon in the post below and read through the comments.