North Shore Animal League America To The Rescue

NSALA team taking the rescued animals off the mobile unit. (Photo by North Shore Animal League America)

North Shore Animal League America (NSALA) recently rescued more than 50 animals from Hurricane Dorian’s path.

On Aug. 31, NSALA announced that its emergency rescue team was preparing to transport shelter partners in Hurricane Dorian’s path.

“While our shelter partners along the Florida coast are bracing themselves for the impeding damage expected from Hurricane Dorian, North Shore Animal League America’s emergency rescue team is collecting supplies for a relief transport which will be sent by mobile unit to Florida as soon as possible,” read a release from NSALA.

The organization asked the community to donate supplies—paper towels, garbage bags, litter boxes, litter, wee wee pads, sponges, bleach and anti-bacterial cleaning wipes, dog biscuits, cat treats, dog crates, cat carriers, new food, water bowls and new or gently used towels—and adopt animals at the shelter to make room for the animals that would be arriving. Donations were made from Saturday, Aug. 31 through Monday, Sept. 2 at the Port Washington location.

“NSALA has been involved with animal rescue dating back to Hurricane Katrina, where we took a large rescuing role in the area,” explained Sylvia Ottaka, senior director of rescue at North Shore Animal League America. “We continued to be involved in emergencies and when we saw what the effects of Hurricane Dorian might be and saw it might come toward the United States, we started reaching out to our shelter partners.”

First, the rescue team reached out to their Florida partners when the hurricane was predicted to hit the state. The team continued to track Dorian and saw it was heading toward the Carolinas.

“We connected to shelter partners along the coast and found out what their needs would be,” Ottaka said. “Once we saw it heading to the Carolinas, we started the drive to bring goods. The outpouring help and donations from the community has been amazing. We received so many supplies, the mobile unit was stuffed with everything.”

In order to make space for incoming animals, NSALA waived adoption fees for all cats and kittens for approved adopters at the Port Washington campus through Sunday, Sept. 8.

“We need the publics help creating more room to welcome these anticipated new arrivals,” read a release from NSALA regarding the free adoptions. “Adopting kittens (especially in pairs), as well as teenage and senior cats, into loving homes will open more space at North Shore Animal League America’s campus.”

Once the mobile unit was loaded, the rescue team headed down to North Carolina first.
“We were able to take in the remainder of the felines from Outerbanks SPCA,” said Ottaka. “They received flooding, so it was good we were able to get the cats out.” After, the team made their way to Horry County Animal Care Center.

“This is a new partner of ours and we were happy to be able to work with them,” said Ottaka, who explained that the team was able to rescue the animals from the shelter. The center needed space to house animals for locals who had evacuated. “There was no risk of euthanasia. They were able to make room for the other animals.”
Just as the team was about to make its way back, they got a call and made their way to Lakeside Rescue South. The rescue center had just received a litter of Pitbull puppies at their door.

“Someone who no longer wanted them and evacuated just left them at the shelter,” Ottaka said. “They were under-socialized [and] had skin conditions. We were able to pick these guys up and made our way back with more than 50 animals.”

The team arrived back at the Port campus on Sunday, Sept. 8, with 35 felines and 19 dogs. The animals will be seen by a veterinarian and be groomed, evaluated and put up for adoption.

“Anyone looking to open a home to an animal, there will be a huge selection of hurricane survivors,” Ottaka said. “It makes what we do worth it, it comes down to these guys. To see them unloaded from the unit, you’re holding them, looking in their eyes, it’s absolutely amazing. Everyone here and the community made such a difference in their lives. Because of all of this, they have a second chance.”

To adopt, visit 25 Davis Ave., Port Washington. For more information, visit

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