More than 50 shelter animals were transported from Louisiana to Long Island by the North Shore Animal League America to be rescued from Hurricane Ida.
Ted Moriates, the league’s rescue team lead, drove from Port Washington to Shreveport, Louisiana, in late August to save 46 puppies and nine older dogs from the harsh conditions the storm would eventually bring to the area. After he and his team packed a truck with donated food, water, cleaning supplies and other equipment, the six-day trek to the Gulf Coast began.
“We put out a social media plea [for supplies] and people really delivered,” Moriates said in an interview. “We filled up our 42-foot truck from floor to ceiling with supplies.”
The animals rescued by Moriates and his team, he said, were pre-hurricane shelter animals, meaning they were not owned. Rather than just searching the areas for animals who could be owned by a person or a family in the storm, the ones the animal league transports are ones that would not last long in certain shelters.
“These animals are ones that are in the shelter system that would probably have been euthanized for space,” Moriates said. “The reason why we do this is to free up space for people who have been affected by the hurricane who have nothing and they need to go somewhere. Hotels cost a lot of money and they also charge for animals.”
One of the animals that ended up making the trip with the animal league was a very pregnant black labrador retriever. Moriates said all of the animals were safely transported to Port Washington, with the soon-to-be mother of eight puppies going into labor just hours later.
Some of the rescued dogs have already been adopted, the animal league said.
Moriates said the animal league rescued more than 1,300 animals over the past year, with many being abandoned on streets or even dumpsters. North Shore Animal League America is able to provide services such as spay and neuter at a much more accessible rate compared with others that could charge hundreds of dollars.
“We have a hard time believing all of these stories because everyone here wants a puppy, but we have programs that are more accessible for spay and neuter,” Moriates said. “What we find down south is they really don’t have many programs for that.”
He said the animal league’s partnerships with other organizations allow its team to know of shelters in other areas that may need assistance.
“We have quite an extensive network,” Moriates said. “We’ve been working with a lot of shelters for many years… A lot of our contacts come from things we do in the public. A lot of people reach out to us.”
Whether it is working with other animal rescue organizations such as Paws 4 Life, networking at adoption events sponsored by Purina, or even word of mouth, Moriates said he and his team are grateful for all of the support they receive to rescue animals from harsh conditions.