Cats and dogs rescued from hurricane are coming to Delaware

GEORGETOWN — If the floodwaters didn’t kill them, euthanization might have.

That was the stark reality that arrived with a natural disaster.

Hurricane Florence endangered dogs and cats in the Carolinas, whether through drowning or the potential health hazards of ingesting dirty water while roaming free.

At least 100 animals are safe, though, thanks to the dedicated efforts of a Delaware rescue crew.

On Tuesday more 40 dogs and 70 cats were to be evacuated from Fayetteville, North Carolina to the First State by six members of the Brandywine Valley SPCA. They were initially sheltered at the nonprofit’s new 11,500 square foot Rescue and Rehab Center on Shingle Point Road in Sussex County and will be dispersed to area adoption shelters, mostly in Delaware, in the coming days.

The felines and canines were on the verge of being displaced from North Carolina shelters to make room for pets who arrived with owners seeking a safe spot for them to endure the storm’s aftermath period. Threatening flood waters from local rivers added to the concern.

“It’s a pretty dire situation and I don’t want to even think of what would have become of them if our organization didn’t come to the rescue,” BVSPCA spokeswoman Linda Torelli said.

The crew arrived in three vehicles at the Cumberland County fairgrounds area to pick up the animals, but needed to call for a fourth when the larger than expected dogs took up all the immediate available space.

The deployment was orchestrated in collaboration with the Best Friends Animal Society, Mr. Torelli said.

In Cumberland County, North Carolina dogs are loaded into a Brandywine Valley SPCA
vehicle for transport to Delaware.

The dog and cat refugees were all adoptable pending medical examinations and necessary treatments and vaccinations, and did not include stray animals or family pets, according to the BVSPCA.

Delaware Animal Response volunteers will assist in readying them for moves to other shelters in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

The timing worked out for Brandywine Valley’s assist, since it closed on its purchase of the 13-acre Shingle Point Road facility on Monday.

There’s enough infrastructure present for temporary emergency quarters, and the building will close for repairs and renovations once the current rescue mission is completed.

“As soon as the risk to shelters in the Carolinas became apparent, we moved into high gear to secure supplies and prepare the Rescue & Rehab Center,” said Adam Lamb, BVSPCA Chief Executive Officer.

“We purchased the facility in part for needs exactly like this, and we’re proud to be chosen by Best Friends to join the leadership team saving lives following Hurricane Florence.”

According to Mark Peralta, Best Friends Animal Society Senior Director of National No-kill Advancement, “Best Friends Animal Society is extremely grateful to the Brandywine Valley SPCA for stepping up and providing leadership and expertise to help animals in the Carolinas through this extremely difficult and trying ordeal.

“Brandywine is the perfect partner to bring much-needed supplies down to the Carolinas, provide leadership and organization for groups we are looking to help while continuing pulling up shelter animals who are ready for adoption to make room for displaced animals looking for their owners and alleviate some of the stress on organizations who were ravaged by hurricane Florence.”

Added Ms. Torelli, “It’s terrific for our community for Delaware’s resources to have such a significant role in saving lives.”

How to help

The BVSPCA suggested the public could assist in the rescue operation in several ways, including:

• Donate to support the significant cost of opening the Rescue & Rehab Center early to care for displaced animals and to complete the facility repairs and renovations in progress with information available at

• Adopt an animal from a BVSPCA location to make space for hurricane victims at

• Sign up to foster pets identified during intake to need a bridge to be ready for adoption at

On Tuesday, Milford-based Fur Baby Boutique, Daycare & Spa owner Sherry Shupe was preparing to take in some of the North Carolina transplant cats and dogs.

She said the public and vendors were donating much needed supplies such as food, litter, bowls, blankets, towels, sheets and comforters, and more were needed.

Donations can be brought to the business at 204 Northeast Front Street.

“It’s fantastic to be a part of this, it’s what we’re here for,” Ms. Shupe said at mid-day. “What got us started in the beginning was creating a place for a rescue destination. If we don’t take them in, there are very few other options.”

• The Town of Dewey Beach is collecting supplies to be delivered to North Carolina, including hygiene and household items, cleaning and first aid supplies, food and water.

Donations will be taken at Town Hall at 105 Rodney Avenue in Dewey Beach until 4 p.m. on Sept. 28.

For more information, call Town Hall at 227-6363 and ask for Ashleigh or Kate or email


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