The 60 pets landed in El Cajon, about 17 miles east of downtown San Diego, in a flight flown by volunteers and coordinated by Seattle-based nonprofit Greater Good Charities. It landed on Saturday afternoon.
‘In Louisiana and Mississippi, they were maxed out to capacity. Kennels were full and kennels were lining hallways,’ Jessica Gercke, public relations coordinator for the Helen Woodward Animal Center in San Diego, told local station KFMB.
‘Due to Hurricane Ida, they had to evacuate,’ said Gercke, who replied ‘absolutely’ when Greater Good asked them about hosting some of the animals.
‘To see them fly in is really touching to all of us,’ she said. ‘It always makes me feel like crying.’
The pets came from overflowing animal shelters in Louisiana ahead of Hurricane Ida, including this dog called Tiana
The 60 cats and dogs were evacuated ahead of the storm, expected to reach 155 mph winds
The evacuation was organized by the Seattle-based nonprofit Greater Good Charities
Camp Run-A-Mutt helped shuttle the dogs from the airport to San Diego-area shelters
Shelters and kennels in Louisiana and Mississippi are reportedly full of pets lining the hallways
‘To see them fly in is really touching to all of us,’ said an employee of an animal shelter that agreed to host some of the pets. ‘It always makes me feel like crying.’
Ida made landfall just after midday local time on Sunday, with its 150mph winds the joint-strongest ever recorded during a hurricane in Louisiana.
Large swathes of the Louisiana coast have already begun to flood, amid warnings of storm surges of up to 16 feet.
New Orleans storm defenses – including mounds of earth called levees – have been strengthened since Hurricane Katrina hit on exactly the same date in 2005.
But Ida is also forecast to dump up to 20 inches of rain, sparking flood warnings, with local drainage systems likely unable to cope with the inundation.
Ida’s smaller size means it will be a stronger storm with more localized impact.
For comparison, Hurricane Katrina, which cost 1,833 lives and left damage of $176 billion, landed as a Category 3 storm.
Hurricane Ida is expected to land in Louisiana Sunday, bringing heavy rains and storm surge
Experts estimate expected damage to be in the billions. Above, two people check out the high waves on Lake Pontchartrain, a large estuary directly above downtown New Orleans
Volunteers from Camp Run-A-Mutt, a dog day care facility, helped shuttle the pets from the airport to local shelters and other facilities on Saturday.
A representative from Greater Good said the evacuation has affected the animals’ caretakers just as much as the pets themselves.
‘It’s not only the pets it’s the people. Yesterday, I had three different shelter directors at different times just breakdown,’ Erin Robbins told the station.
The cats and dogs arrived in California Saturday on a flight flown by volunteers
Ida’s smaller size means it will be a stronger storm with more localized impact in Louisiana
An organizer of the pet evacuation asks people to consider fostering, which is free
If the pets aren’t adopted, ‘Animals ultimately face a sad ending and have to be euthanized,’ said one animal shelter employee
One of Greater Good’s goals is to provide ‘care and feeding of rescued animals in shelters and sanctuaries and addressing the root causes of their conditions,’ according to their website.
Fostering a pet is free, Gercke stressed, with facilities often providing everything a new pet owner needs to get started.
‘If these pets do not get fostered or adopted, the ending is tragic and shelters shut down. Animals ultimately face a sad ending and have to be euthanized,’ she said.