Animals displaced by Sandy arrive in San Diego

RANCHO SANTA FE, Calif. – About 60 shelter dogs and cats displaced as Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast will arrive in San Diego over the weekend, then will be taken to a Rancho Santa Fe animal center, according to center officials.

The Helen Woodward Animal Center, the Sea World Rescue Team and Southwest Airlines teamed up to fly the shelter pets from New Jersey.     They are to be flown to Lindbergh Field on a donated charter, chaperoned by rescue staff and will later be taken to the center in Rancho Santa Fe.   There, they will be evaluated, receive medical treatments, vaccinations and will be spayed or neutered before they are placed for adoption, according to the center.

“These are the silent victims,” Helen Woodward Animal Center President Mike Arms said. “There are shelters that have been devastated by Hurricane Sandy, without electricity, without supplies.”

“Despite this, the goodhearted rescue facilitators have taken in an overwhelming number of pets displaced by the hurricane and waiting to be returned to their owners,” he said.

However, the animals that inhabited the shelters before the storm were facing euthanasia because of the lack of space, Arms said.   He added his center was contacted by shelters asking for help.

Not only were the East Coast facilities overcrowded, but adoptions have trickled to a stop in the hurricane’s aftermath, according to the center.

The Helen Woodward Animal Center also assisted with the transportation and placement of animals following Hurricane Katrina.

The rescue was made possible by Southwest Airlines, whose crew members donated their time and BP, which donated fuel for the cross-country flight.   Sea World veterinarians and technicians donated their time and will transport the pets to the shelter in Rancho San Diego, northeast of Del Mar.

The Helen Woodward Animal Center also sought donations at online to fund care for the animals until they are adopted.