Animal Friends Taking In 18 Of Them

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — “Wiley Coyote” was among dozens of dogs unloaded at the Allegheny County Airport late Monday afternoon.

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They were transported by truck after a journey made possible by the Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team (PAART) and seven local animal shelters that have opened their doors and kennels to the canines.

Hopefully, soon, they will be able to adopt them out.

Volunteers also helped make the long road trip possible.

Lisa Riccardi, of Penn Hills, is a volunteer with PAART.

“It’s fulfilling,” she said. “I needed to help and this was a way to do it. These dogs were wonderful. I couldn’t ask for better partners. They were great.”

“Our volunteers, I cannot say enough about them,” PAART executive director Mary Withrow said. “The ones that offered to do the trip… It’s a 30-plus hour drive!”

Local veterinarians were at the airport to check out the dogs. Dr. Aileen Ruiz operates the Big Easy Animal Hospital in Lawrenceville.

Monday’s second shipment of dogs had a much shorter trip to Pittsburgh. They arrived by plane later in the evening. For that group of dogs, it was a journey of about 7 hours.

These dogs were not displaced when Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast last week.

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Instead, the dogs were already up for adoption in Texas before the storm hit.

All the dogs relocated to Pittsburgh were taken from shelters in the San Antonio, Texas, area, so those shelters will be able to accommodate pets displaced by Hurricane Harvey.

Officials say by clearing these animals from the shelters and shuttling them to different cities, it frees up shelter space for the pets that were impacted by Harvey. Then, those dogs can be reunited with their families.

“We are anticipating taking 18 dogs,” Shannon Tremblay of Animal Friends said. “Ten are adults and 8 are puppies.”

Initially, they anticipated taking in 40, but they say some of the dogs didn’t have proper health certificates to cross state lines.

The pooch transportation is part of an operation to avoid mistakes that were made after Hurricane Katrina twelve years ago.

“I think we learned a lot from Katrina as far as the animals,” Withrow said. “You move [the animals] further away, you get the existing [adoptable] animals out, and that way you can make room for the ones that are displaced and hope that the owner can be reunited.”

Animal Friends says once at the shelter, the 18 dogs and puppies be examined and their behavior evaluated. If no major concerns are found, shelter officials say they could be up for adoption within the next few days.

Anyone looking to adopt is urged to visit their website for more information.

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Other shelters taking the dogs include Humane Animal Rescue, the Beaver County Humane Society, Angel Ridge Animal Rescue and more.