WASHINGTON — A cargo plane landed in the predawn hours of Tuesday with 29 dogs and cats evacuated from the British Virgin Islands that will soon be available to adopt in Maryland.
The plane landed at 1:30 a.m. with “the second shipment of animals rescued and sent to the States for care and adoption,” said Kelly O’Meara, with Humane Society International.
The team arrived in Tortola Sept. 13, after Hurricane Irma hit, to find the local animal shelter in rubble.
“If they aren’t injured or they weren’t suffering beforehand, they are afterwards. They’re in shock. They’re normally dehydrated. They’re normally disoriented and they’re just trying to find their way, like people are,” she said of the animals.
The team was able to collect the dogs and cats, as well as farm animals that needed assistance including horses and goats, before Hurricane Maria hit the following week, O’Meara said. Many were reconnected with their families who lost them in the storm.
“In the case of the shelter it was completely destroyed. There was no one there to care for the animals because the people who did run the shelter had evacuated,” she said.
The animals are boarding at the Greenbriar Veterinary Hospital, in Frederick, receiving treatment before they are placed in shelters to be adopted. There is no specific timeline for when the animals will be available for adoption, since they are in need of different types of care, but those who are considering adopting a refugee animal should consider they are especially vulnerable, O’Meara said.
“It’s a very traumatic experience to go through a massive disaster,” she said.