American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, which has been first to serve in the rescue of animals in disasters for more than 100 years, joined forces with Wings of Rescue, The Sato Project, and the Humane Society of Broward County to help reunite 19 dogs and cats with their owners who relocated to the United States from Puerto Rico.
This weekend, a Wings of Rescue plane filled with pets and more than a little hope touched down at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport where a 50-foot American Humane Rescue vehicle was waiting to greet them. The pets were transferred to the giant truck and transported 13 miles to the Humane Society of Broward County, where the vehicle set up in the parking lot to serve as a Mobile Reunification Center so that owners who also recently flew to the U.S. could claim their pets.
One of the dogs brought back is blind, 7-year-old Zion. Sweet and friendly, he likes to play and he loves the beach. In the last two years, he developed ulcers in his eyes and lost his sight. His family hopes to get him medical treatment in the United States for the ulcers in his eyes. Others who arrived today were surrounded by crying members of their families, overwhelmed by having their best friends back.
“Wings of Rescue believes that pets are cherished family members,” said Wings of Rescue President and CEO Ric Browde. “Puerto Rico has endured a catastrophe that has ripped families apart. Food, water, electricity and medical care are scarce. We want to do our part in bringing families together so they can truly be able to celebrate Thanksgiving.”
“Coming on top of the devastation of their homes and communities, the separation of these pets from their families has been very difficult for the Puerto Rican victims of Hurricane Maria,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane. “We are honored to work and make a difference with these other wonderful groups in order to bring these animals to safety and back into the arms of their loving families.”