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BVSPCA a "hub" to help shelters rescue animals from Hurricane Michael

The Brandywine Valley SPCA is helping shelters in Florida handle animals caught up in the devastation caused by Hurricane Michael.


The Brandywine Valley SPCA (BVSPCA) received 100 cats by plane Monday. They came from shelters in Florida that are clearing out their animals to make room for those being rescued in the wake of Hurricane Michael.

Denise Deisler is CEO of the Jacksonville Humane Society in Florida — which sent the cats to Delaware. She says half are from her shelter, and the other half were moved out of shelters in Alachua County before the storm hit.

“First we cleared the shelters in the path of the storm, now we’re clearing those of use who are in a position to help outside of that path, so we can provide assistance,” she said.

Deisler notes animal rescuers have begun doing it this way since Hurricane Katrina— when shelters all over the country took in the animals hit by the storm.

“That lead to animals being dispersed all over the country that were in the path of the storm. Then when the people victims were trying to be reunited with their pets, it was a scramble. They were all over the country,” she said.

Deisler says the BVSPCA is uniquely equipped to help with efforts like this.

“We are the only rescue hub in the area. We specifically purchased our facility down in Georgetown to serve this type of purpose,” said Linda Torelli, director of marketing at BVSPCA. “It’s meant to help animals at critical times of need. ”

The Georgetown facility was used for the first time to help with Hurricane Florence relief efforts last month.

Torelli says after a few days, most of the cats will be moved to one of BVSPCA’s other locations, or to other shelters in the area.

“What we’re going to do is work with Jacksonville Humane for instance which is bringing in animals from the local shelters down there up to us, and then we’re going to get the animals out to other shelters in the Northeast for adoption.”

She says Monday’s shipment of cats is the largest they’ve taken in at one time.

Other partners in this rescue mission include Best Friends Animal Society and Wings of Rescue.


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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