Community rallies around humane society during power outage

Published 6:13 pm Monday, November 27, 2023

The animals at the Chattahoochee Humane Society were without heat for almost two days due to a power outage. Alabama Power was called out to the CHS facility after their breaker box exploded. 

Amber Mingin, the Director of CHS, said they think the explosion was caused by a loose wire. They believe the wire came loose when Alabama Power came out to restore power during a previous outage, which caused the system to blow. 

The shelter’s employees working on Sunday came into a dark facility. Mingin said they smelled the burned wires and found the breaker box charred. Thankfully, electricians were able to tentatively fix the box on Monday morning. 

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“It just burnt up to a crisp,” Mingin said.

The electrician replaced most of the blown box, and Mingin said that they are taking some “precautionary measures” to ensure something like this does not happen again. 

Fortunately, a couple of weeks ago CHS requested igloo dog shelters to go in their newly built hill kennels. The outdoor kennels are covered but do not have the insulation of the indoor facility. During the outage, Ponder’s Nursery in Valley supplied CHS with straw to insulate the igloos, allowing the dogs to stay outside. 

Staff members have been working around the clock to ensure their animals stay safe. Many worked at CHS until 9 p.m. to square away all the animals being picked up by fosters and staying in the kennels. The calls from people wanting to temporarily foster didn’t stop until around midnight. 

Heating wasn’t the only issue during the outage. The humane society’s freezers, used for vaccines and medication, were quickly thawing without power. Mingin said the community stepping up made the difference. People were offering generators, space heaters, and there was even an offer to pay the electricians that came out to fix the box. Those who were unable to foster donated dog food and other supplies.

“When push comes to shove, the community really stepped up…everything we needed people showed up for,” Mingin said.

Mingin and her staff are looking at the outage in a positive light. CHS has been at, or close to, capacity for some time. The outage led to a drastic increase in foster homes for their animals, which they hope will turn into some adoptions. Having fewer animals at the facility allows the staff to do cleaning and maintenance that would otherwise be impossible.

“We’re hoping with them being in foster that they’ll get seen by people and even if the foster does not adopt, maybe their neighbor or their friends and family will meet them and fall in love,” Mingin said. 

Mingin had an envelope in her hand on Monday morning when the power came back on. Inside, the CHS had been awarded a grant from The Charter Foundation, which provides grants to organizations working to help communities in Troup and Chambers counties.