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Strangers help shelter owner evacuate over 80 cats amid wildfire



  • The Adkins Avenue wildfire in Florida was heading towards Jackie Mihal’s animal shelter and personal home.
  • She was overwhelmed with the prospect of evacuating all 86 cats and 1 bunny by herself.
  • Thankfully, three strangers helped her accomplish the daunting task of saving all the animals.

As the Adkins Avenue wildfire headed toward the Salty Cats of St. Andrews Rescue in Panama City, Florida, owner Jackie Mihal was worried about the shelter residents. She already started the process of evacuating over 80 animals by herself when three kind strangers showed up to help.

There were 86 cats and one rabbit in the shelter, but Jackie did her best to start loading them into crates and into her van as fast as she could.

It didn’t help that most of the animals were feral, some were sick, and she didn’t have enough crates for all of them!

Fortunately, three strangers passed by her home and spotted her. Brian Salmon, Scott Morris, and Scott Trunzo immediately offered her the help she desperately needed!

Jackie said that she had dealt with hurricane evacuations before, but the wildfire scared her more.

Photo Credit: YouTube

She shared, “Fire moves so quickly, and the smoke was just engulfing the building… I don’t sleep anymore, it just keeps flashing back.”

She said that some of the cats were also traumatized by the whole ordeal. The stress caused some to pull out their own fur or stop eating.

Jackie’s friends took some of the cats in while they waited for the fire to subside.


Looking back on it now, Jackie considers it a miracle that so many animals were evacuated in just minutes.

Photo Credit: Facebook

“I don’t know how I got them in their cages, and I don’t know where those guys came from but they were placed there for a reason,” she said.

The story hit the local news, which prompted several people to send donations of pet necessities. After the fire had passed, Jackie managed to move everyone back into the house.

Photo Credit: Facebook

Jackie braved the circumstances to save every animal, essentially rescuing them twice!

If you would like to help out, you can donate through PayPal. Donations in kind, such as food and pet supplies, can be sent to or dropped off at American Legion Post 392, 535 Oak Avenue, Panama City.

All 86 cats are also up for adoption. Check out their Facebook page for more information.

Source: Inspire More