Heroic Woman Saves 300 Cats And Dogs From US Virgin Islands

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.

She now lives on a farm in Virginia Beach, where she runs Island Dog Rescue, which finds homes in the U.S. for abandoned Caribbean dogs.

U.S. Virgin Islands Commissioner of Health Dr. Michelle Davis reported that 20 patients were flown to Atlanta on Saturday, while 12 patients were sent to Shreveport, Louisiana, on Sunday, as the government responded to the urgent health-care needs of residents in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, which impacted the Territory's medical services. It came at a hefty price: $112,000 for the flight itself, plus $5,000 for the pet carriers, according to the Virginian-Pilot.

"We did it because there was nobody else to do it, and the government didn't have a way to do it", Gear told Virginia TV station WAVY.

A group who flew down and retrieved the animals from overcrowded shelters also treated many animals while they were there.

Getting those dogs back to America was a bigger task than anything she'd done before, so Gear turned to the web for help. Many people have evacuated, but what happens to the animals? The animals landed safely in Norfolk, Virginia, around 2 a.m. on Tuesday.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says they're still finding animals alone wherever the storm hit.

The Florida Health Department issued a message on Twitter before the storm hit, pleading with citizens to stick with their pets.

This St. Croix man lost his home to Hurricane Maria.

'I honestly, I was about to start crying, ' said volunter Tinsley Sarrett. They heard about the animals through social media, and didn't hesitate to help. "Island dogs are like that".

'It's so heartwarming seeing that our community is just coming together for this great cause, and wanting to help these dogs, they just need a home'.


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