Palm Beach County animal rescues team up to get supplies to Puerto Rico

FORT PIERCE, Fla. - A plane packed with 4,000 pounds of supplies will leave for Puerto Rico from the St. Lucie County International Airport on Monday morning. 

“I absolutely think the pets are the forgotten ones in the wake of these storms," said Jessica Nicodermo, who is the vice president of Pet Haven and representative for Guardians of Rescue.

Several Palm Beach County animal rescue groups, including Big Dog Ranch Rescue, Pet Haven and Second Chance Puppies and Kittens Rescue, collected truckloads of donations. 

Donations included pet food, pet medications, leashes and collars and other desperately needed items to help pets in Puerto Rico.

“People have no power. No potable water," said Lauree Simmons, Big Dog Ranch Rescue president and founder. "Everything was blown away or wet. The animals have nothing to eat.”

On Sunday night, they loaded up a plane funded through Guardians of Rescue. APP Jet Center is discounting fuel and donating a hanger for storage of supplies.

"This mission has been a massive collaboration of hundreds of people and dozens of rescues, businesses, veterinary hospitals," Nicodermo said. "It’s just overwhelming the support of the community we’ve gotten."

Once they get to Puerto Rico, the pilots will distribute the goods themselves straight to specific rescues on the island that need the supplies.

“I have a passion for two things really, flying and animals," said Nick Barson, who will be flying second in command.

The plane will then carry at least 60 animals back to Florida.

Some pets will be reunited with their families who had to leave Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria.

Most of the animals will go to Big Dog Ranch Rescue and other local rescue organizations to be put up for adoption. Dogs rescued from flooding during Hurricane Harvey are now out of quarantine and ready to be adopted.

Barson said this won't be the last of the efforts to help pets in Puerto Rico.

“As long as we have support, we have people willing to make the trip back and forth twice a week as long as it takes," said Barson.

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