Berkeley Humane takes in 45 animals airlifted out of Hurricane Irma’s path

A dog recently arrived from Florida is looked after by Berkeley Humane. Photo: Berkeley Humane

On Thursday afternoon, an airplane touched down at a private airport in Hayward carrying a special cargo: 92 dogs and 60 cats being airlifted out of Florida and the path of Hurricane Irma.

Berkeley Humane was one of three local animal-rescue organizations waiting on the tarmac to welcome the animals, whose journey was prompted by the desire of the Ft. Lauderdale Humane Society to clear out its shelters in anticipation of a storm that is likely to displace many animals in Broward County, Florida.

After a triage on the tarmac, including medical evaluation, Berkeley Humane took in 29 cats and 16 dogs, said Thomas Altherr, the organization’s director of development. The animals are settling into their new home and will be available for adoption within about a week, once they’ve been throughly checked over, he said.

“We’re really proud to be able to be part of such a great relief effort,” Altherr said. “Hats off to Broward County in Florida for taking such an honorable initiative.”


At a private airport in Hayward, dogs and cats are unloaded from an airplane that came in from Florida on Sept. 7. Photo: Berkeley Humane

The other two local shelters who took in the animals were Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) and the East Bay SPCA.

Berkeley Humane is waiving the adoption fees in order to help expedite the adoptions of these animals, said Altherr, but welcomes donations, be it online or in person, to help cover the shelter’s costs.

“All the animals have to be processed, medically assessed, spayed, neutered and chipped if necessary, and we’ll let them get settled,” Altherr said. “We have a full veterinary clinic and hospital so we can take care of any special needs.”

“This is a very large number of dogs and cats to integrate into our organization at one time, but it is the right thing to do to ensure the safety of these animals,” said Jeffrey Zerwekh, Berkeley Humane’s executive director in a statement.

More information will be available at BerkeleyHumane.org as the animals become available.


Animals were vetted on the tarmac and then distributed among three local animal-rescue shelters. Photo: Berkeley Humane
A total of 92 dogs and 60 cats were airlifted out of Florida. Photo: Berkeley Humane
Berkeley Humane sent its mobile adoption unit as well as two cargo vans to pick up the rescue animals. Photo: Berkeley Humane
One of the cats that will be up for adoption by Berkeley Humane, with a waived adoption fee, soon. Photo: Berkeley Humane