Some shelter animals in the path of Hurricane Irma are coming to Toledo

Published: Sep. 8, 2017 at 5:02 PM EDT
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Dogs from a Florida shelter are coming to Toledo. The Toledo Area Humane Society is one of a number of rescue agencies scheduled to pick up dogs at the Columbus Airport Friday night.

They are being flown to Ohio by Wings of Rescue from Ft. Lauderdale.

The dogs were originally expected to arrive in Columbus late Friday afternoon, but because of heavy flight traffic out of Florida, the plane has been delayed. Once the dogs arrive in Columbus, they will then be driven to Toledo.

Dozens of dogs from the Humane Society of Broward County will be on the flight. More than a dozen of them will be brought to the Toledo Area Humane Society. And this is just the start. Even more dogs and cats from Florida will be arriving at the shelter this weekend.

On any given day, the Toledo Area Humane Society is a busy place, and it's about to get even busier. 17 dogs are coming to Toledo from Florida. Stephen Heaven is the President and CEO of the Humane Society, "There will be a big push for space here. We do have a local boarding kennel taking some for us, and there are people standing by to foster some of them. They have hall been fixed and are up to date on their shots, so they will be up for adoption. As soon as the first group is adopted, we'll filter more through. We are getting both small and big dogs. Some of them will be pit bulls and pit bull mixes. The Humane Society of the United States has had some difficulty finding partners to take in the pit bull type dogs, however the Toledo Area Humane Society has included pit bull type dogs in its adoption program for years."

Like many humane societies and shelters in the path of Hurricane Irma, the dogs are coming from a shelter that's making room for the onslaught of animals expected to be affected by the storm. Heaven says it's one of the lessons learned from the way things were handled during Hurricane Katrina, "This time they are emptying the shelters in the path of the hurricane and taking out the adoptable animals. That way the shelter will have room to take in all the stray and rescued animals in that region."

While it's hard for employees and volunteers at the Humane Society to think about what is about to happen in Florida, they're glad to be able to do their part to help. Kelly Sears is the VP of Operations at TAHS,"Knowing how hard shelter workers and volunteers work to keep the animals safe and knowing there is nothing you can do to stop what's coming is so tough. Having to get all the people and animals out is an incredible task. I am very happy we are in a position to help. We are even postponing some projects here at the shelter to help make this happen."

The dogs expected to arrive Friday are just the beginning of the story.

Heaven says more animals are heading to Toledo from Florida in the next couple days, "We are expecting another transport this weekend. By Sunday we'll have another 27 dogs and 15-20 cats."

Heaven says tough times like this truly bring the rescue world together, "Animal welfare these days is about shelters working together more frequently than they did in the past. It becomes a nationwide collaborative effort. You have to think globally with animal welfare, you can't just think in a bubble."

If you can't adopt or foster one of the dogs or cats from Florida, there are a lot of other ways you can help the Humane Society take care of them. You can donate your time by cleaning cages or walking the dogs. You can also donate food, supplies or money.

We've posted a link to the shelter's website