Hundreds of shelter dogs, cats from PR arrive at FLL

FORT LAUDERDALE-HOLLYWOOD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - There was plenty of puppy love going around at a South Florida airport, Saturday, as well over 100 dogs — and quite a few feline companions — arrived from Puerto Rico for a chance at a better life.

Organizers behind this flight said about 160 dogs and several hundred cats made the journey from the U.S. commonwealth with the ultimate goal of being adopted.

“There are all types of dogs here today,” said Michael Mandel, executive director of the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian County.

Originally from overburdened Puerto Rican animal shelters, the animals landed at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and will be being taken to several different animal welfare organizations along the East Coast.

“Really, it’s a wonderful thing for everybody to come out and help,” said Cherie Wachter of the Humane Society of Broward County.

Other branches of the Humane Society were also on hand to help. “All dogs deserve to be adopted,” said Mandel.

Ground transport to 11 animal shelters was underway, Saturday night.

“The Animal Society in Florida are absolutely incredible,” said Humane Society of the United States spokesperson Kim Alboum. “We have the Humane Society of Tampa Bay here. We have the Humane Society of Vero Beach. We have the Humane Society of Broward County, and it is just absolutely incredible the work that these people do.”

In addition to missions like this one, the Humane Society of the United States and its partners initiated “Operation Breathing Room” to provide desperately needed space in the shelters in Puerto Rico and raise public awareness about the ongoing work needed to help animals on the island. The project is part of a larger program there to address the crisis of the commonwealth’s staggering 300,000 street dogs.

But for this furry crew of travelers, they’re on their way to find a forever home, and they’re likely to be thrown a bone or two in their soon-to-be-new digs.

Several more trips from Puerto Rico are being planned over the next few years.

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