Some 130 dogs and cats have been flown to Long Island, NY, following their rescue from Puerto Rico in the wake of the devastating Hurricane Maria.
The Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, along with the group “Barks for Hope,” chartered a private cargo jet and flew over to Puerto Rico last week to rescued the stranded animals from an overcrowded shelter in the town of Rincon.
ARF's Michele and Jamie Forrester arrived in Westhampton today on a chartered cargo flight from Puerto Rico. ARF rescued 70 dogs and cats form the Rincon area, where there is still no electricity or water. After the animals are medically cleared, they will be available for adoption in the coming weeks.
Posted by Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, Inc. on Wednesday, October 11, 2017
The animals touched down over the weekend in Westhampton, and are now up for adoption in Wainscott. They will all go through medical screening before being adopted into loving homes.
After being microchipped, vaccinated and neutered, the rescue group estimates they will be up for adoption in about two weeks.
“By saving these 130 animals, that means that we’re really able to help the shelters down there bring another 130 animals off the streets of Puerto Rico,” said ARF executive director Scott Howe, as reported by Newsday.
This is what LOVE looks like! Our amazing friend Michele, from ARF of the Hamptons, and her husband Jamie, recently…
Another 18 dogs were rescued from Puerto Rico back on Tuesday when the main shelter on the island, the St. Croix Animal Welfare Center, which was destroyed during the hurricane.”Some of them are kind of standoffish, and a little bit skittish,” said Bryan Hayes, of the ASPCA, as reported by ABC 11.
“They’ve been through a lot. They went on a plane ride for their first time. They got on a truck for their first time. They were probably in stainless steel kennels for their first time because they were down in St. Croix. The facilities there were pretty much wiped out.”
Back in October, The SPCA of Wake County and HSUS took in some 39 dogs from Puerto Rico.
“What they seem to need most of all is a lot of patience and time,” said Molly Stone, of SPCA of Wake County. “It’s almost like they fell asleep last night on Earth and woke up this morning on Mars. It’s very very terrifying for them.”
Adoption fees are $95 for adults and $150 for puppies.There is an estimated half a million stray dogs roaming around Puerto Rico following the devastation of Hurricane Maria. Shelters cannot cope with the demand, and many pets are simply being thrown out onto the streets to fend for themselves.
“The situation is horrible,” said Claribel Pizarro, executive assistant at the Humane Society of Puerto Rico, as reported by the Daily Mail.
“They want to turn in pets every single day. … There are a lot of animals being abandoned when we tell them our shelter is full and that there’s a waiting list.”The level of neglect is horrifying. “People have always abandoned pets, but not with the magnitude we’re seeing now,” said animal activist Sylvia Bedrosian.
Maribel Ortiz is the director of a massive animal shelter, the Canine Sanctuary of Divine Mercy, on the South Coast of the island. She said she is caring for more than 750 pets, including 100 that were abandoned after the hurricane struck.
“It’s too many, right?” she said. “There are a lot of (animals), and we’ve been criticized for that, but if they’re roaming around, we’re not going to leave them behind.”
The damage to homes and businesses in Puerto Rico is colossal. People are living in houses without roofs, over 30,000 people have lost jobs, and around 200,000 have fled for the mainland. Many just don’t simply have the capacity to care for a pet right now.
“Our situation is dire because the number of abandonments has tripled in recent weeks,” said Dellymar Bernal, president of The Saint Francis of Assisi Animal Sanctuary’s board of directors.
“We know the abandonments are going to continue or worsen. … Unfortunately, Hurricane Maria is still claiming animals as victims.”
Still, many are finding safe homes in the United States.
“Once they arrive, everybody wants one,” said Ric Browde, the president and CEO of Wings of Rescue, an airline that flies rescued animals to new homes.
The Gard’s are just one family out of hundreds who have opened up their homes to these abandoned pets. When they welcomed Otis at the beginning of October, they were given no details of his former life, and didn’t even know his breed. He has clearly been through a lot, but they are so glad they took him in.
“He’s kind of like a scared cat sometimes, and he submits to our 17-pound dachshund mix,” Aliya Gard said, as reported by Greensboro.com. “I don’t know if it was from the transportation or from what happened in his previous life. I think he was probably physically hurt because of how skittish he is.”
“He had those brown little eyes, and he was just staring up. And he looked kind of sad,” she said. “He was just licking the boys and tail wagging. I fell in love with him.”
The Gard’s also like to think that their act of hospitality has in some way helped ease the burden of those dealing with the hardships of rebuilding their homes after Hurricane Maria. Plus, taking Otis will have opened up an additional space in the shelter for another abandoned pet.
“Since we took him, that opens the (Puerto Rican) shelters up for dogs that may have gotten out,” Lance Gard said. “The ripple effect of it is nice. When you’ve lost everything, if you can go get your dog, that’s something.”
Watch more below:
Dogs rescued from shelter in St. Croix after Hurricane Maria arrive in Wake Co. ABC11 WTVD
Posted by Gloria Rodriguez WTVD on Tuesday, December 19, 2017