RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond has six new furry residents.
The Richmond SPCA is now home to dogs rescued from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.
"They are having a very difficult time caring for these homeless dogs under the conditions that exists in Puerto Rico," said Richmond SPCA CEO Robin Starr.
The dogs were part of a group of 110 canines and 12 cats rescued by the Humane Society of the United States.
The flight carrying the animals landed late Tuesday night in Northern Virginia from Puerto Rico. Once on the mainland, the animals were divided up to shelters across the Commonwealth.
Brittany Pierri, manager of internal veterinary services at the SPCA, helped bring the dogs back to Richmond.
"I've never been a part of an big transport like that," she said. "It was a little surreal for me to see that many people coming together and that many animals."
For Pierri, this rescue mission was personal, as most of her family lives in Puerto Rico.
"Some of them we've heard from (after) the storm, and some of them we haven't. So it was good to be a part of it and feel like all the way here in the United States in Richmond city to help in some way," she said.
Like many on the island, recovery will be a long road for Pierri's family.
"One of my family members in Puerto Rico has electricity, and has water. Only one," said Pierri.
That is why she feels a special connection with these dogs, all of which were homeless before the storm hit.
Taking them in frees up space in shelter in Puerto Rico in hope of connecting lost pets with their families.
"These are some very lucky dogs who need Richmond SPCA so much," said Starr.
The luckiest pup of all? Starr said that would be Hannah, an 8-year-old German Shepard
"She's a beautiful German Shepard with a sweet disposition, but she had been deserted in Puerto Rico because of her health conditions," Starr said.
Once the vets treat Hannah's hip dysplasia, she and the other dogs will be up for adoption in the coming weeks.
"I know we are going to find loving and lasting homes for them," said Pierri.
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