As people rushed to evacuate the path of Hurricane Florence, shelters across the southeastern coast have been struggling to make room for the influx of pets that have been left behind. But thanks to a few fearless vigilantes, dozens of North and South Carolina's abandoned animals may get a chance to find a new home. Just last week, a North Carolina couple rescued roughly 20 pets from shelters in their "fluffy bus," and a trucker named Tony Alsup loaded up 64 dogs and cats in his school bus, driving them outside of the hurricane warning zone, the Washington Post reports.
"It’s so easy for people to adopt the small pets and the cuties and the cuddly," Alsup told the Greenville News. "We take on the ones that deserve a chance even though they are big and a little ugly. But I love big dogs, and we find places for them."
According to the Greenville News , the good samaritan and animal lover from Tennessee spent $3,200 on a school bus he's used to evacuate what he calls "leftovers"—sheltered pets who no one's tried to adopt—from disaster zones across the country. A few days before Hurricane Florence hit, Alsup drove through South Carolina, loading 53 dogs and 11 cats into the bus from shelters across the state, driving them to a private dog shelter in Alabama. Many were adopted from there, while others were sent to adoption shelters across the US with a little more room.
In the intervening days before a hurricane, pets often get left behind and local shelters begin to fill up, according to the Post. Government-run shelters in certain jurisdictions are obligated not to turn away any new animals, but to do that, they sometimes have to make space for them by putting others down. Thankfully, Alsup was able to swoop in and save multiple good boys and girls, and aims to head back down to Wilmington, North Carolina—where flooding has caused the roads to close—to save even more animals in need.
"Animals—especially shelter pets—they always have to take the back seat of the bus," Alsup told the Post. "But I’ll give them their own bus. If I have to I’ll pay for all the fuel, or even a boat, to get these dogs out of there."
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