What would you do if a hurricane was coming your way and you had to get your pets out of harm’s way? Now, what if you had over 300 pets and a category 4 hurricane was coming towards your small community. This was the story for Ricardo Pimental, the owner of the Tierra de Animales shelter in Cancun, Mexico.
This past October, Hurricane Delta was a powerful category 4 hurricane that was quickly barrelling toward the Mexico shoreline. Cancun was in the direct path, and Ricardo Pimental had to do something to save his 300 shelter pets. He is a lifelong animal lover. Over the past 9 years, Pimental has taken care of over 500 animals. Some of the types of animals include dogs, cats, turkeys, donkeys, cows, horses, pigs, and many more. While most people in his area would have left the pets to fend for themselves, this was unacceptable for Pimental. He started early to make the best plan of action for his shelter animals. His first plan of action was to shelter in place with his dogs in his shelter building and wait until the storm was over. Once the storm got stronger at a daily rate, Ricardo Pimental realized that the Tierra de Animales shelter was not hurricane proof. His next plan of action to save his shelter animals would have seemed unthinkable to some people. Ricardo Pimental knew of only one other place where his dogs would be safe and secure from Hurricane Delta. Pimental and his shelter employees decided to shelter in place with the animals in his personal house. Yes, his house!
Ricardo Pimental loaded up all 300 pets with his employees and moved them into his personal house. This process took about 5 hours, but thankfully the team was able to move each one before the storm made landfall. Pimental said that it was not an easy task and at times they had to move each dog on a leash two at a time. Some of the animals are not leased, trained or naturally timid, so they had to carry quite a few of them. Also, there was no need to worry because the team made sure the house was well stocked with food and other supplies that the animals and humans would need during and after Hurricane Delta made landfall. Thankfully, the hurricane was downgraded to a category 2 storm. However, this was no cause for celebration for the team, as this still included dangerous winds from 96-110 mph. Even though the storm was downgraded, Pimental and his team still felt that they made the right decision sheltering in place at his house. However, this tactic proved to be a success! They were happy to report that every animal was safe and no chaos ensured with any of the animals. Unfortunately, not every structure survived the storm. Even Pimental’s own home was partially destroyed by Hurricane Delta. However, he says that the main importance is that all of his shelter animals were spared. Due to his heroic act, Ricard Pimental and his shelter have caught the eye of many people internationally, and some of them have sent him donations. Pimental said that he saves the donations to help improve the Tierra de Animales shelter to make it hurricane proof in the future.