Dozens of dogs, cats from Bahamas arrive in South Florida

133 animals to be distributed among 9 shelters across state

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – South Florida animal shelters are stepping up to help the Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian.

Dozens of cats and dogs arrived at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Monday morning after flying in from the hurricane-ravaged islands.

The animals are going to nine shelters across the state of Florida, including some in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

First, crews unloaded the animals and walked them to the air field to be sorted out.

Then, they loaded them into vans heading to shelters across the state, including the Humane Society of Broward County.

"I believe we're probably taking about 10 dogs, 10 cats," Cherie Wachter, of the Humane Society of Broward County, said. "We had a really busy adoption weekend -- actually, a very busy week all week, so we definitely have the space available."

All 133 animals are from the Bahamas Humane Society of Nassau, which fared well during Hurricane Dorian. But now, the shelter is running out of room because it's taken in so many animals from shelters in neighboring islands that were destroyed.

"It's quite sad," Wachter said. "Obviously, a lot of animals lost their lives because of this storm, but the fact that we're able to step up and help these other animals, and help the people, too, this allows the people on the island to not have to worry about the animals. It gives them time to be with their family and hopefully rebuild."

Now that the animals have disembarked from their flight, volunteer pilot Ric Browde said he's planning to fill the plane up with 6,000 pounds of relief supplies and bring them to the Bahamas.

"It's always a privilege to help people and pets in need. And that's what Wings of Rescue does," Browde said. 

There were supposed to be 158 animals arriving in South Florida Monday, but the crates were too big, so they had to leave some of them behind.

Browde said he's planning to come back Tuesday with the 25 dogs that didn't make Monday's trip.

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