Pets Rescued From Virgin Islands

Hurricanes bring 400 dogs, cats to Hampton Roads from U.S. Virgin ...

Pets from all three of the U.S. Virgin Islands - St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix - were rescued after Hurricane Irma tore through the region but before Maria made landfall by Virginia Beach's Island Dog Rescue co-founder, Sali Gear. The animals landed safely in Norfolk, Virginia, around 2 a.m. on Tuesday.

"I did it because it had to be done", Gear told The Virginian-Pilot.

Almost 50 dogs had been rescued by state authorities in Florida before Irma even hit. Originally, she planned to fly groups of 20 animals gathered from St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix up to the continental USA every day for a week following Irma's land fall. She said that that her crowdfunding effort began simply as "two people having Island Dog Rescue on social media creating a swell of support", and that "people have moved heaven and earth to make this happen". The pets are now being cared for on a Virginia farm. So now, she's helping those who are helpless.

Ginny Hawksley from the London office of the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board said: "It's been quite emotional and encouraging to see the BVI love from so many people".

According to Gear, the animals she helped rescue have been faring well since leaving the storm-battered islands.

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They padded the doors and prepared for the first hit from the storm.

"I honestly - I was about to start crying", volunteer Tinsley Sarrett, who helped take the dogs from the airport to the farm, told WAVY.

Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-priced loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster, according to the release. As the second hurricane loomed closer to the Caribbean islands, Gear knew she needed to act fast.

Finally, the furry refugees landed in the USA on Tuesday, where volunteers cared for them at Gear's farm while foster homes or relatives of their owners could be found.

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