As Hurricane Ida has been slamming southern states, animal-focused groups across New England have been working to evacuate animals from shelters in hopes of finding them homes up north. The MSPCA-Angell in Boston and Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem helped evacuate 75 animals from Louisiana over the weekend, and that's just the beginning.

The first transport of 36 dogs and 39 cats landed at Hanscom Airforce Base on Saturday afternoon, just before Ida hit the Gulf Coast, and the animals were whisked away to the Northeast Animal Shelter soon after. The animals, who range in age from young to senior, have since completed their mandatory 48-hour quarantine period, as well as their health and behavior assessments, and have started appearing on the shelter's website as available for adoption.

Mike Keiley, MSPCA's director of adoption centers and programs, said the organizations are hoping to drum up a lot of interest to get these animals adopted into homes across Massachusetts.

"We're so far away from Louisiana up here, but we can all have an impact, and if people are looking to adopt, [there] is really no better time than right now," Keiley said.

Courtesy of MSPCA-Angell
Courtesy of MSPCA-Angell

And although they've done so much already, the shelter and the MSPCA are far from done helping.

"We are in the process of gearing up for a second transport for tomorrow night, and that will come from Jefferson Parish as well," Keiley said. "That's right in New Orleans, where certainly there's been either extensive damage at these shelters or the shelters are standing, but are needing to move homeless animals into other shelter systems like ours in order to make room for owned animals that are displaced by the storm."

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Keiley said that the airports are expected to open tomorrow, when they will take the first opportunity after the storm to fly 100 cats out of Louisiana. The cats will then be divided up between the Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem and the MSPCA shelter in Centerville, which could be a closer option for folks who live close to or on the Cape.

"It is Labor Day weekend, so I can't guarantee that the traffic won't be bad, but our animals will be available for multiple locations this weekend," Keiley said.

Courtesy of MSPCA-Angell
Courtesy of MSPCA-Angell

Hurricane season in Louisiana and other southern states is always a difficult time for animal shelters, but groups like Northeast Animal Shelter are pulling together their resources to help shelters in the hurricane's path during their most dire moments.

"It's an area of the country that is overpopulated with animals and shelters are usually full, especially this time of year, so the need is greatest during hurricane season because every shelter is maxed to their capability to handle as many animals as possible, and you need to evacuate that large number of animals," Keiley said. "It's really challenging. I feel very fortunate that Northeast Animal Shelter has the structure in place to be able to receive animals in large numbers."

Animals from the first transport will begin showing up on Northeast Animal Shelter's website on Tuesday afternoon, and potential adopters should expect to see the cats from the second transport online sometime this weekend. Those hoping to adopt an animal must submit an application online and will then be able to schedule an appointment to meet the animals. If you're not in a place to adopt at the moment, but still want to help out, monetary donations can be made to the Northeast Animal Shelter to help animals get adopted and help Louisiana shelters recover.

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