Berks ARL expecting cats, dogs displaced by Hurricane Dorian

'No one is taking any chances'

CUMRU TWP., Pa. - Hurricane Dorian is forcing some animal rescue organizations along the East Coast to clear out their shelters ahead of whatever the storm may bring.

As a result, the Animal Rescue League of Berks County said Tuesday that it is expecting to receive as many as 20 dogs and 15 cats that have been evacuated from shelters in the Carolinas as part of an effort organized by Best Friends, a nonprofit sanctuary for homeless animals.

"We have been in communication with Best Friends and with Brandywine Valley SPCA, who are helping coordinate everybody coming up from the regions that are going to be affected by the storm," said Elisabeth Manwiller, deputy director of the Berks ARL.

Representatives of the ARL's shelter in Cumru Township expect to pick up the animals at one of the Brandywine Valley SPCA locations in Pennsylvania or Delaware on Wednesday.

"We're working with them to see how many the need is and what we can take on," Manwiller said, "so we are looking at, I would say, 20 to 30 animals that are coming up in the next couple of days."

The Brandywine Valley SPCA said it expected to receive 158 pets from Best Friends, which shared on its Facebook page Sunday photos of animals being evacuated from the Charleston Animal Society in South Carolina.

"When it comes to the lives of homeless pets, no one is taking any chances," said Emily Tolliver, Best Friends' manager of social communities and content. "Thanks to shelters and volunteers working together all across the east coast, hundreds of animals are being transported out of harm's way."

Best Friends said anyone can help in the effort by adopting or fostering a dog or cat at the ARL to help make room for the influx of new animals.

Earlier Tuesday, the Brandywine Valley SPCA shared video on its Facebook page of 191 homeless pets being taken off an airplane from the coastal areas of the Carolinas. Their arrival was part of a mission undertaken by Wings of Rescue and the ASPCA.

"They're looking at the northeast first, because it's the closest area to transport these animals," Manwiller explained, "also, so they're not in transport for several days on end."

Meanwhile, more than 20 American Red Cross members from the eastern Pennsylvania region are already on the ground and standing by as Hurricane Dorian continues its crawl along the coast.

"We're making sure that people are prepared, asking folks to make those necessary final preparations, and also making them aware that the Red Cross is present in the area," said A.J. Suero, regional communications manager with the American Red Cross.

Additionally, Berks County-based Penske Truck Leasing representatives said they've already closed nine locations in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida in advance of the storm.

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