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Shelter near Atlanta provides a safe haven for displaced animals
A former Home Depot store north of Atlanta is being prepared to house up to 1,000 pets fleeing Hurricane Irma. (Courtesy of the Atlanta Humane Society)

ROSWELL, Ga. — Just north of Atlanta, a 60,000-square-foot building will temporarily house hundreds of pets affected by Hurricane Irma.

“Right now we are taking in dogs and cats,” says Christina Hill, marketing director at the Atlanta Humane Society.

But Hill said that if someone shows up with a guinea pig or other pet, they won’t be turned away.

The building is a former Home Depot, now gutted. It has separate quarters for cats and dogs.

The Humane Society has plans to take in animals that were staying in shelters in Florida and south Georgia, as well as some evacuees’ pets.

The Humane Society secured the building Friday and has been setting up crates, laying down paper and making sure there’s enough food and water to feed 500 to 1,000 animals, for which the state asked it to prepare. If really needed, Hill said, the shelter could take more. “If we really need to squeeze, we’re thinking we could fit thousands of animals,” she said.

The hope is that the animals will be safe and secure, eventually to be reunited with their families. “If someone needs us, if an animal needs us or people need us, we’ll be there for them,” Hill said.

Hurricane Irma: Storm moves north after pounding Florida
Heavy winds and rain are seen in Miami on Sunday. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Irma, the record-setting hurricane that devastated islands across the Caribbean, has been churning north through Florida — and has turned its sights on Georgia.

Visit the Capital Weather Gang’s live updates page for more on the storm.