100+ pets rescued from Puerto Rico arrive in Richmond

130 dogs and cats were aboard the Wings of Rescue flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Richmond. They are some of thousands who need saving from the streets of
Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 6:01 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Hundreds of flights come in and out of Richmond International Airport each day, but one of the arrivals Thursday morning was one of a kind.

130 dogs and cats were aboard the Wings of Rescue flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Richmond. They are some of the thousands who need saving from the streets of San Juan that were devastated by Hurricane Fiona over two weeks ago.

“The devastation [is] not as bad as Florida, but you can just tell the water damage and the wind damage to the shelters as well coming in there from Hurricane Fiona,” Peter Hoover, the pilot in this rescue mission, said.

The special delivery was handed to animal rescue groups across Virginia, including Richmond SPCA, where 10 of the dogs will be put up for adoption.

“Bringing these animals to Virginia where they’re going to find wonderful homes as pets - it’s just such a rewarding testament to what we do,” Tabitha Treloar with Richmond SPCA said.

Treloar said the rescue wouldn’t be possible without the help of Petco Love -who donated $62,000 - and Wings of Rescue, who provided the flight.

“We are concurrently flying from Hurricane Ian in Florida. We’ve been doing flights from there, so we are responding to two hurricanes at the same time,” Ric Browde, president and CEO of Wings of Rescue, said.

He said nearly 3,000 more pets still need saving from Puerto Rico.

“I’m going back on Saturday to fly some more that are going up to Chicago,” Browde said. “Where there is a need, we will be there.”

And so will the shelters, like Richmond SPCA, ensuring these little ones have a new and safe place to call home.

“We have more need that we want to respond to, and we want to be able to say yes, and it’s our community that - together - is going to help us say yes to the next dogs who need to come to the Richmond SPCA.

Treloar said tests will need to be run on the dogs for at least 10 days before they’re available for adoption. Once that is complete, they will share a photo of the dogs from Puerto Rico on their website.