Baby donkey ‘Mattie’ shines a spotlight on Pender County’s continuing, post-flood needs

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Jewel Horton, manager of the Pender County Animal Shelter. with Mattie, the foal born to a donkey rescued from flood waters.
Jewel Horton, manager of the Pender County Animal Shelter. with Mattie, the foal born to a donkey rescued from flood waters.

PENDER COUNTY – A female foal born to a donkey rescued during the flooding in Pender County last week is being described as “the miracle of life,” but the newborn also highlights the continuing needs of the flood-ravaged county.

Mattie, as she has been named in deference to the storm that caused the flooding, the Hurricane Matthew, was born to one of three donkeys found by sheriff’s deputies standing on high ground as flood waters rose around them on Oct. 12, according to a Jewel Horton, manager of the Pender County Animal Shelter.

The animals were rescued and brought to the shelter, where it was noted one was larger than the others.

“We had our suspicions,” Horton said. “But the poor animal had suffered so much. However, the vet confirmed she was going to deliver within 10 days.”

The donkey’s rescue was one among many that took place in the week following Hurricane Matthew, when rivers began to overflow. Struck especially hard, was the Black River Basin.

“I’m so proud of my community,” said Horton. “So many agencies came together to rescue animals from Hurricane Matthew’s flood.”

Tom Collins, Pender County emergency manager, said responding rescue units included “a 5-ton rescue vehicle, deputies, animal control, animal shelter staff, and fire departments.”

“When the flood waters rose, we also had a helicopter rescuing people from roof tops,” Collins said.

“So many people helped at a moment’s notice,” Horton added. “I can’t thank those individuals enough.”

The community continues to rally behind the flood victims, including animals, Horton said. And now the need has morphed into a different type.

The Pender County Animal Shelter has rescued seven donkeys, three little horses, one pony, two full-size horses, one yearling horse, seven goats, and nine pigs – not to mention the cats, kittens, dogs and puppies, according to a press release.

“We’ve received donations of pet food and blankets,” said Horton. “What we need now are monetary donations to help pay veterinary bills for these animals. We could make monetary donations go a long way in the health of our animals.”

In addition, some pets now need homes; that includes livestock, due to pasture contamination.

“We are creating a waiting list for anyone interested in adopting livestock,” Horton said. “Some livestock owners can’t take back their animals … One lady told us she will not rebuild.”

The Pender County Animal Shelter is located at 3280 New Savannah Road in Burgaw. For information, or to make a monetary donation, call 910-259-1484.