A jet packed with adoptable cats and dogs landed in the Bay Area Thursday, all refugees from Florida shelters emptied as preparation for Hurricane Irma.
It's all thanks to the Walnut Creek-based Animal Rescue Foundation, a shelter founded by former Oakland A's great Tony La Russa after a stray cat wandered onto the field during a 1990 game between the A's and the Yankees. Since then, they've helped save over 36,000 pets, their website says — most recently the 152 who flew in from Florida yesterday.
ARF was first contacted by the Humane Society of Broward County, Florida Tuesday, CBS 5 reports, "once it was clear that the storm could lead to catastrophic damage in the Fort Lauderdale area."
“By clearing shelter space," ARF Executive Director Elena Bicker says, Florida animal care officials "can better respond to recovery efforts and focus on reuniting any local owners and pets who may be displaced by the storm."
Working with the East Bay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Berkeley Humane Society, ARF greeted a cross country flight with 60 dogs and 92 cats at the APP Jet Center in Hayward Thursday.
Some of the animals will be housed at ARF's Walnut Creek facility, KRON 4 reports. According to the Berkeley Humane Society, at least 50 of the pets will be sheltered there.
But though the animals are available for adoption, don't rush to the Berkeley Humane Society's adoption center quite yet. "In order to ensure we are meeting the medical and emotional needs of our animal population we will not be open for adoptions this weekend," they write on their website.
"By closing our shelter on Friday, 09/08, Saturday, 09/09, and Sunday, 09/10 we will allow our volunteers and staff to focus on animal care and ensure all of the required medical records and paperwork are in order and that the animals have recovered from their long journey."
But the wait is worth it, as after that shelter reopens for adoptions on Friday September 15th, "Berkeley Humane will waive all adoption fees in order to remove any potential barriers to finding these animals new loving homes."
The Berkeley Humane Society is located at 2700 Ninth Street in Berkeley. It'll reopen on Friday 9/15, and allows adoptions from11-5 Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.