While crews begin to assess damage from Hurricane Michael and start search-and-rescue efforts, local animal shelters seem to be in good shape.

The Panhandle Animal Welfare Society in Fort Walton Beach did not sustain any damage, and has made room for animals from counties affected by the storm.

“We had a transport team and they took a lot of our animals out, so if there’s the possibility that anybody from another county had to bring anybody in, we have the ability to take a few," PAWS Director Dee Thompson. "Other than that, we had no issues whatsoever at the shelter.”

Thompson also is a member of a local disaster response team, and is waiting to be called to help after the state assesses the needs of the affected areas.

“We understand that it’s very, very important to wait until there’s a request put in,” she said. “You don’t just run over there and start trying to (work), because you can cause more harm than good by just running over without being deployed.”

Walton County avoided the worst of Michael, which landfall Wednesday afternoon and destroyed roads and buildings in Bay County just to the east.

The Walton County Animal Shelter also fared well through Michael, according to Walton County Fire Rescue spokeswoman Lindsey Batchelor.

“They sheltered in place because they’re not in a flood zone,” Batchelor said. “All the animals are fine. We’ve had staff there every day making sure they’re fed and taken care of.”

Alaqua Animal Refuge in Freeport evacuated all its animals ahead of the storm. Staffers made their way back to shelter Thursday morning.

"We are all OK, but it's a mess," said Laurie Hood, Alaqua's founder. "(We are) getting everything cleaned up and ready for animals to come back, as well as to be a center for supplies for those in need. We will be taking in animals from the storm."

Officials in Bay and Franklin counties were still mostly unreachable Thursday morning. David Ovalle, a Miami Herald reporter covering Hurricane Michael in Northwest Florida, tweeted photos Wednesday of a kennel in Panama City Beach that was destroyed.

“Dogs at the (Paw A Day) Inn kennel and grooming all survived, even though the walls collapsed,” he tweeted. “Sadly, a cat (drowned) when he was trapped in rising rain water behind a downed wall.”

Operation Spay Bay, a low-cost spay and neuter clinic in Panama City that serves several counties in Northwest Florida, was severely damaged in the storm. Windows were blown out and surgical rooms could be seen covered in glass, debris and insulation. A Spay Bay van was turned on its side and hit the building's outer walls.

Brandi Winkleman, community relations director at A HOPE for Santa Rosa County animal rescue group, was raising money on social media to rebuild Spay Bay. She said the organization serves animals throughout the Panhandle, and as long as it's out of operation, local animals could be affected.

"They are a phenomenal resource to help keep our animal population down," Winkleman said of Spay Bay. "We were booked out until Nov. 7. We will be by their side, gathering donations and lending cleanup help until they are 100 percent back in business. As much as we are a resource for Santa Rosa County, Operation Spay Bay is a resource to us."

All funds donated to A HOPE at adoption events during October will be donated to Spay Bay, Winkleman said.

Gulf World Marine Park in Panama City Beach said in a news release that it was thankful to have sustained only minor damage and that all of itsr staff and animals were okay.

"Our friends to the east were not so lucky, and we are praying for them," the news release said. "We are not sure when Panama City Beach will be open to the public. As soon as we have the date for Gulf World to reopen in the next few days, we will inform you."

Brother Wolf Animal Rescue from Asheville, North Carolina, is preparing to deploy to Florida to assist with animal care and search-and-rescue efforts.

“We’re working with shelters along the Florida Panhandle to move adoptable animals to safety at shelters in Rhode Island and New York,” Audrey Lodato, Brother Wolf’s director of animal care, said in a press release. “By emptying those shelters, we’re helping to create room for animals who will be found in the field during and after the hurricane, with the hope of reuniting them with their families.”

Daily News reporter Annie Blanks contributed to this report.