"Controlled chaos" — as described by officials — happened Nov. 28 at Rancho Coastal Humane Society (RCHS) where 20 adult dogs “set paw” on California soil after completing a 1,847 mile journey from St. Francis Animal Sanctuary (SFAS) in Tylertown, Mississippi to RCHS.
“We began working with St. Francis Animal Sanctuary after Hurricane Katrina," said Kathy Zerkle, RCHS Vice President of Adoption Services. "They had more pets than they could care for and we had families here in San Diego who wanted to adopt them. That was 12 years ago.”
The new arrivals will undergo examinations. Vaccinations will be updated and there will be spay or neuter surgery for the dogs who need it. Each dog also gets a microchip for identification.
“Just as we’ve done with the Hurricane Harvey Hounds and Cats, we run additional tests to check for ailments that are common in Mississippi and Louisiana, but not California,” Zerkle said.
RCHS spokesman John Van Zante remembered when the rescue partnership between SFAS and RCHS began in 2005.
“SFAS President Pam Perez opened her sanctuary to pets who were lost, strayed, or abandoned because of Katrina," he said. "She began transferring them to animal shelters across the country. She asked RCHS President Jim Silveira how long we could help her. Jim said we would help as long as she needed it. She still needs it. Hurricane Katrina is a memory for most. Pam is still living with it every day."
The dogs that arrived Nov. 28 were a mix of retrievers, hounds and Catahoula Leopard dogs.
"It's hard to tell what breeds they are," Zerkle said. "But really, it doesn't matter. They need families and this is the time of year when more people bring new pets into their homes than any other time."
Pets adopted from RCHS are spayed or neutered, have had health and temperament exams, vaccinations are up to date, and come with registered microchip identification.
For more information or to make a donation to help cover the costs visit RCHS at 389 Requeza Street in Encinitas, call 760-753-6413, or log on to www.sdpets.org. Adoption hours are 11 AM to 5 PM every day but Tuesday.
— Submitted news release