Dogs from Puerto Rico ar­rive at SPCA

The Phoenix - - COMMUNITY - By Bill Ret­tewJr. bret­tew@dai­ly­lo­cal.com

Brandy­wine Val­ley SPCA ken­nel at­ten­dant Sal In­ras­sia of Thorn­dale has al­ready cho­sen a new best friend.

Fluffy is one of 43new­ca­nine vis­i­tors ar­riv­ing Mon­day night at the West Ch­ester BVSPCA from­storm-rav­aged Puerto Rico.

More than 120 pets had al­ready ar­rived at theWest Goshen shel­ter from hur­ri­cane zones in Texas, Louisiana, Florida and Puerto Rico since hur­ri­canes Har­vey, Irma and Maria rav­aged those ar­eas.

All the in­com­ing pets were shel­ter dogs prior to the hur­ri­canes. The pets were shipped out to make space in hur­ri­cane-area an­i­mal shel­ters and for lo- cal pets to eas­ier re­unite with their own­ers.

In­ras­sia rode the tran­sit ve­hi­cle packed from floor to ceil­ing with bark­ing dogs af­ter spend­ing three nights in New Jer­sey with the trans­planted pets.

He hopes that the dog he ex­pects to re­name ei­ther Ethel or Stella will make friends with his el­der-pooch, Isaac.

In­ras­sia said that older pets are not as eas­ily adopted, but he hopes that 9-year-old Fluffy will get along with his cur­rent house­hold ca­nine res­i­dent.

Both dogs en­joy mas­sages. Fluffy has a skin con­di­tion and Isaac suf­fers from arthri­tis af­ter a bout with Lyme dis­ease.

Fluffy, a 39-pound ter­rier mix, will make a good com­pan­ion and good friend for Isaac, the year­long shel­ter em­ployee said.

“She’ll be a buddy for him,” he said. “She can help him and he can help her. She will keep him ac­tive.”

Michele Boehmer is a vol­un­teer and helped un­load the van.

“With the suf­fer­ing that the peo­ple in th­ese ar­eas are go­ing through, it’s even worse for the dogs,” she said. “It’s up­lift­ing for those of us who vol­un­teer here ev­ery day.”

The dogs were trans­ported, froma pool of­more than 600 trans­planted Puerto Ri­can pets in Madi­son, New Jer­sey, where a tem­po­rary shel­ter was staffed by the Hu­mane So­ci­ety of the United States.

Over the past month, the BVSPCA wel­comed more than 120 pets.

The dogs will re­ceive ex­ams, med­i­cal care, and trans­port. The shel­ter runs ad­di­tional shel­ters in New Castle, Ge­orge­town and Dover, Delaware which­will house the res­cue dogs.

Linda Torelli, BVSPCA mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor, said the West Goshen fa­cil­ity is a high-vol­ume, ope­nad­mis­sion, no-kill shel­ter. She also said there is a 92 per­cent eu­thana­sia rate for shel­tered an­i­mals in Puerto Rico.

“There’s a very se­ri­ous street an­i­mal prob­lem and over­pop­u­la­tion of cats and dogs,” she said.

Al­ready, 80 per­cent of the orig­i­nal BVSPCA an­i­mals air­lifted from hur­ri­cane ar­eas have been adopted and found for­ever homes. Torelli said that none have been re­turned.

“The com­mu­nity has re­ally come out to adopt and spread the word, which makes more space to save an­i­mals from the hur­ri­cane zones,” she said. “It’s re­ally time for (the an­i­mals) to get a sec­ond chance.”

The shel­ter is near ca- pac­ity with 125 dogs and 75 cats.

Ten mem­bers of the BVSPCA team re­cently took a week­long trip toHous­ton to ad­min­is­ter­med­i­cal care and in­take pro­to­cols at a tem­po­rary shel­ter.

The Puerto Ri­can dogs should be happy to end up in West Goshen.

“We didn’t hes­i­tate when asked to help the an­i­mals of Puerto Rico,” said Adam Lamb, BVSPCA CEO. “The dev­as­ta­tion and the im­pact on the an­i­mals left in its wake is heart­break­ing.

“We’re proud to col­lab­o­rate with so many amaz­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions that are com­ing to­gether at this crit­i­cal time.”

Many pets are al­ready avail­able for adop­tion.

The BVSPCA asks for the com­mu­nity to help sup­port re­lief ef­forts by do­nat­ing at bvspca.org/do­nate or by mail at Brandy­wine Val­ley SPCA, 1212 Phoenixville Pike, West Ch­ester PA 19380.

BILL RETTEW JR. – DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Jeff Boehmer, Brandy­wine Val­ley SPCA vol­un­teer, helps trans­port three dogs from the Puerto Rico hur­ri­cane zone to Ch­ester County.

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