More than 200 dogs, cats and rabbits arrived in Delaware on Wednesday afternoon as part of a second phase rescue effort by the Brandywine Valley SPCA, to evacuate animals from Louisiana shelters impacted by Hurricane Ida.
The animals were airlifted from Hammond, Louisiana, and brought to the Delaware Coastal Airport in Georgetown at about 5 p.m.
The flight was originally scheduled to land at 3:45 p.m., but was delayed in its departure from Louisiana while boarding the animals.
As the remnants of Hurricane Ida inched closer to the airport, the animals were unloaded, from where they will be transported to Animal Rescue Center in Georgetown, as well as shelters in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Combined with the pre-storm flight that evacuated 110 dogs and cats on Aug. 28, the BVSPCA has now coordinated the rescue of more than 300 shelter animals from Louisiana.
They will start becoming available for adoption on Thursday, September 2.
On Saturday, 110 homeless pets — 50 dogs and 60 cats — were 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, had been evacuated from shelter homes in Louisiana to get them out of Hurricane Ida’s path before its expected landfall this past Sunday.
The flight carrying these animals was originally headed to the New Castle County Airport but was diverted at the last minute.
Through a coordinated effort by Brandywine Valley SPCA’s teams in Delaware, Pennsylvania and Louisiana, the cats and dogs were transported on a Wings of Rescue flight sponsored by Petco Love and the ASPCA.
“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.
The BVSPCA staff members have been working at the Tangipahoa shelter since January as part of a yearlong collaboration to help increase lifesaving.
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 greatly interferes with lifesaving efforts, BVSPCA said in the statement. Any animals that are on stray hold in Louisiana will stay there, though.
The animals that were relocated are adoptable now, according to the Brandywine Valley SPCA. The shelter started waiving adoption fees for all animals at their locations on Saturday.
Those that arrived Saturday will go to BVSPCA campuses, as well as to BVSPCA partners in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and an ASPCA partner in New England, according to the Brandywine Valley SPCA.
“Adopting one pet at this time saves the life of two,” said Linda Torelli, BVSPCA’s marketing director. “It rescues the cat or dog adopted while making space to relocate a hurricane victim.”