RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — More than 140 pets that were evacuated from Louisiana shelters ahead of Hurricane Ida’s destruction have been transported to Virginia, through a rescue effort in partnership with the BISSELL Pet Foundation and more than 10 partner shelters, including the Richmond SPCA.
According to a release, the Humane Society of Tulsa provided ground transportation and temporary shelter as a hub location for the animals. From there, pets were flown to Manassas, Va., and will be further transported to additional shelters throughout the Commonwealth, as well as in Maryland and Pennsylvania.
The Richmond SPCA rescued six dogs and 14 cats after they were evacuated from shelters in Hurricane Ida’s path. The effort was coordinated to relieve overcrowded animal shelters in Louisiana as hurricanes and other summer storms threaten the safety of the pets, and to make room in shelters in the state to take in animal displaced by Ida.
“Our friends at BISSELL Pet Foundation reached out to the Richmond SPCA last week, letting us know that they had efforts underway to bring to safety hundreds of pets that, ultimately, were going to be in the path of Hurricane Ida in Louisiana shelters,” Richmond SPCA CEO Tamsen Kingry said. “We did this in order for space to be made available in those shelters throughout Louisiana, so that pets who did become displaced during Hurricane Ida, they would have a chance to be reunited with their families.”
The more than 140 animals evacuated in this rescue mission landed in Manassas on Wednesday afternoon. That flight was rerouted to the Chantilly Air Jet Center, where there was a hangar that would protect the pets and their transporters from the rainy weather.
“Tomorrow [Thursday], they’ll receive physical examinations,” Kingry said. “We’ll deliver to them any necessary vaccines, and then, we’ll start providing any medical treatment that they may need for any ailments from which they’re suffering.”
As soon as the dogs and cats arrived in Richmond, the SPCA’s associate veterinarian started checking the animals to see if they had any visible illnesses and reviewing their records. They were given dinner and a place to rest.
“We are so grateful to everyone who has been part of this collaborative effort, from our partners on the ground in Louisiana to those helping here in Virginia, taking these pets into their shelters so they can be adopted,” BISSELL Pet Foundation Founder Cathy Bissell said. “This was a massive team effort with people all across the country helping each other, and while part of the work is finished, there is more to be done as we continue to help the displaced pets in Louisiana.”
In order to make space for the incoming pets, Kingry said the staff at the Richmond SPCA had to get creative with space, in addition to utilizing what isolation space was available.
“The Richmond SPCA will be the temporary home for all of the pets,” Kingry said. “Our veterinary medical staff and our animal care technicians will be delivering to them all of the care and attention that they need as we ready them for adoption, and eventually, they will go on to be loved by families throughout Central Virginia.”
Kingry said that the 20 animals that arrived Wednesday could be ready for adoption in as soon as a week. However, it could take longer than that, depending on any medical conditions that they may have.
“We want everyone to understand how crucially important this work is, and rescue efforts like this one, in times of natural disaster, require a great deal of teamwork,” Kingry said. “They’re very resource-intensive.”