With Hurricane Isaac approaching New Orleans, the Louisiana SPCA went into hurricane preparation mode. It closed to the public and moved many of its animals to SPCA of Texas in Dallas.
It so happened that a shipment of 35 dogs already was scheduled to leave the path of the storm, which badly flooded areas surrounding New Orleans and took out power to parts of the city.
The canines were scheduled to be sent to St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center as part of a program that transfers animals from areas struggling to control overpopulation to places where they are more likely to be adopted.
The animals arrived Wednesday morning at the shelter on Woodland Avenue in Chatham Township, known as St. Hubert's Madison shelter. St. Hubert's is open Thursday from noon to 6 p.m.
"They're a wonderful group of dogs and they will be adopted quickly," Colleen Harrington, director of shelter operations, said Thursday.
The truck left Louisiana early Tuesday morning and the storm hit Tuesday night. The Louisiana SPCA remained closed Wednesday because power was out.
“With Isaac looming, all of us were anxious to see this transport get on the road to New Jersey ahead of it, and the timing becomes more significant since we know that LA/SPCA will be called upon to provide services should animals in their region be displaced when the storm hits," Harrington said in a news release.
The news release says St. Hubert’s began assisting the Gulf Region seven years ago when Hurricane Katrina hit by accepting an airlift of 54 displaced cats and dogs. It eventually reunited some of the pets with their families and permanently placed others locally, the news release said.
It also took in 94 dogs after the 2010 Gulf oil spill in anticipation of the Louisiana agency facing increased demands on its services because of econominc hardships caused by the spill.
St. Hubert's President and CEO Heather Cammisa said the organization is proud to assist animals and organizations in another coastal state.
“New Jersey is also a coastal state, and as such we have a heightened awareness of the crisis an impending storm creates and the devastation that can be left in its wake,” Cammisa said. “St. Hubert’s is proud to extend its reach to assist our Gulf area animal welfare partners and with the support of our staff, volunteers and our community we are able to do so without displacing any local animals.”