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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The Humane Society of Greater Miami is struggling to get back up on all fours following the hurricane.

Parts of the shelter have no air conditioning and on Tuesday, a nearby power pole exploded, knocking out power to the building.

“Half the building has a.c. and half doesn’t,” said the facility’s Executive Director Laurie Hoffman.

The shelter has been closed since September 8th ahead of Hurricane Irma. The storm knocked out power to the facility for six days and air conditioning for 10, including to the quarantine unit where they house the sick animals.

They were forced to put in animals in the only areas they could keep cool.

Hoffman says it’s been a month of difficult decisions.

“It was climbing up to 95 degrees,” she said. “We had to bring them over into this building, otherwise, they wouldn’t survive. We knew that were gonna probably end up spreading diseases.”

Outside, pet owners showed up Wednesday morning to find a sign that said “closed” on the door.

With electricity restored, Hoffman said they were planning to reopen Monday. But the power pole explosion set off a fire outside.

“This was scariest thing that we really have ever seen, it was exploding worse than the 4th of July,” said Hoffman. “It went on for about 30 minutes.”

The pole was connected to a grid that powered the air conditioning. The facility has lights but can’t stay cool. There’s no timetable now on when they’re be able to open again.

“We have to make sure all the animals are healthy and able to get in their right places, and watch them for maybe 24 to 48 hours, before we even think about opening,” said the director.

Animals are now being housed in the portion of the building that they added on, which is air-conditioned. The quarantine area also has power so sick animals are no longer being mixed with the healthy.

Hoffman says thanks to storm related damage and being out of business, they will probably take a loss of about $500,000.

“What we really need now are donations,” she said.


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