TAMPA, Fla. — Dozens of dogs are now calling Tampa home after a devastating volcanic eruption last month on the island of St. Vincent.
The non-profit organization Wings of Rescue flew a relief mission Thursday to the island. They said they delivered around 5,000 pounds of humanitarian and veterinarian aid and picked up more than 30 dogs from the Vincentian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
“They came from what’s called the red zone which is where the lava is flowing. They came in they were emaciated when they came in but they got terrific care down in St. Vincent. These people are working miracles on a daily basis and they’re the real heroes of this operation,” said Ric Browde, the president and CEO of Wings of Rescue.
The first dog off the plane was Hope. A fitting name with the pets looking at a new future.
“We barked our way across the sky and we’re here and everybody’s happy,” said Browde.
The Humane Society of Tampa Bay will house and place the dogs.
“All these dogs are homeless, they’re very thin, they’re eating scraps off the street so once we get them in our care we’ll make sure to of course fatten them up and medically treat them for anything they might need,” said Maria Matlack, the director of marketing for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.
They expect adoptions to start as early as this weekend.
“Sometimes it’s just so hard to see these things happening to animals who can’t help themselves for so far away so it's nice to be able to feel like we’re actually helping beyond the Tampa Bay community that we’re doing a really good thing here for animals that really need us,” Matlack said.
The rescue was part of a multi-flight mission for Wings of Rescue, including a stop in Puerto Rico on their way back where they picked up more dogs. Those pets are headed to other parts of Florida.
In total, they expect around 250 dogs to go to homes in Florida and New York.