On Saturday afternoon, one hundred and ten homeless pets — 50 dogs and 60 cats — are headed to area shelters after touching down at the Chester County Airport in Coatesville, Pennsylvania.
The animals, primarily from the Tangipahoa Parish Animal Shelter about 45 minutes north of New Orleans, have been evacuated from shelter homes in Louisiana to get them out of Hurricane Ida’s path before its expected landfall Sunday.
The flight carrying these animals was initially headed to the New Castle County Airport but was diverted last minute.
The cats and dogs were transported on a Wings of Rescue flight sponsored by Petco Love and the ASPCA through a coordinated effort by Brandywine Valley SPCA’s teams in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Louisiana.
“We’re in a unique position to have a substantial rescue impact before and after Hurricane Ida because we have staff working in Louisiana right now,” said Adam Lamb, BVSPCA CEO, in a statement.
SINCE JANUARY, the BVSPCA staff members have been working at the Tangipahoa shelter as part of a year-long collaboration to help increase lifesaving.
????????110 cats and dogs arrived at the Chester County Airport in Coatesville on Saturday and have been made available for adoption following Hurricane Ida's damage in Louisiana. https://t.co/zb7zMZ3oNG— CBS Philly (@CBSPhilly) August 29, 2021
This effort marks a change in preparing for and responding to hurricanes, said Chip Fitz, director of animal services at Tangipahoa Parish.
“By opening these kennels, we’re able to bring in animals from the most southern parishes that have to order mandatory evacuations,” Fitz said in a statement. “It will also give us space for the animal rescues that will more than likely take place after the storm from the storm itself and possible subsequent flooding.”
With frequent hurricanes, Southern shelters become quickly overwhelmed, which significantly interferes with lifesaving efforts, BVSPCA said in the statement. Any animals that are on stray hold in Louisiana will stay there, though.