Local animal rescuers return from Puerto Rico

Suncoast Animal Rescue already planning trip back
Posted at 7:43 PM, Oct 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-16 21:31:44-04

Volunteers from the Suncoast Animal League are back home after 4 days in Puerto Rico. They’re stunned by the damage on the hurricane-ravaged island and are counting down the minutes until they fly back. 

“They’re tapped out. They’re tapped out. There’s no other way to say it,” Annette Dettloff, of the Suncoast Animal Rescue said choking back tears. What she saw in Puerto Rico, changed her forever. “Water. They need water. How do you live without water? It's heartbreaking.”

Dettloff and 3 others from the tiny Palm Harbor animal rescue went to the devastated island with medicine, food and water for the animals, but the stories of the people traumatized them. 

“Nothing is normal there. Nothing. People are struggling to survive,” she said tearfully.

Animal shelters are without a drop of water, according to Dettloff, and the people working in them are starved. 

Without running water, thousands of people are at risk of getting sick. 10 Puerto Ricans tested positive for a disease believed to be caused by animal urine contaminating the water. 

Our local rescuers could only bring back two cats and two Chihuahuas because they flew on a commercial flight, but they’re already raising money and planning for the next trip back. 

“After you see what is going on over there you know you need to go back,” Dettloff stressed.

They hope to bring supplies for the people and around 100 animals back here to Florida. 

“I told a few personally I am going to come back for you,” Detloff said fighting back tears.