A family fled their home ahead of Hurricane Irma, driving all the way from Tampa to Kansas City with 30 dogs riding on a flatbed trailer pulled behind a truck.
On Saturday someone in Kansas City, concerned for the safety of the dogs, called animal control officials.
Animal control officers brought 16 of the dogs — mostly huskies, but also some golden retrievers and Australian shepherds — to the KC Pet Project animal shelter, which is trying to make room for more animals displaced by recent hurricanes.
Shelter officials are caring for the dogs and working on future arrangements with the family, who were worried and exhausted from their trip, said Tori Fugate, a spokeswoman for KC Pet Project.
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“This is something we’ve never seen before at our shelter,” Fugate said.
On a day when the shelter had already taken in 34 animals, the influx filled up space the shelter had just cleared by arranging the adoption of 54 pets. The KC Pet Project, in an effort to make room for animals in need of shelter because of hurricanes that have hit Texas and Florida, offered a fee-waived adoption special this weekend, including Sunday.
The shelter is also looking for donations to care for the animals it is taking in, including the huskies.
On Sunday, shelter officials were working with the dogs’ owners to make sure they can be taken care of. The family, originally from Cuba, was staying with relatives in the Kansas City area. They placed the 14 dogs not brought to the shelter at relatives’ homes.
If the dogs return to Florida with the family, Fugate said, the shelter will try to help find a safer means of transporting them. The dogs had been living in poor conditions on the trailer, she said, but the family was eager to take care of them.
“A lot of people, when you first see this, you have a natural reaction,” Fugate said. “But it’s clear they love these dogs.”
KC Pet Project is looking for help with the high costs of caring for the animals being brought to its shelter. Through September, any donations to the shelter will be matched by a local donor family.
To make a donation, or for more information, visit kcpetproject.org.