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Shelter animals arrive in Northeast Ohio to help with influx of displaced pets from Hurricane Ian

Shelters in Florida are bracing for an influx of displaced animals as rescue efforts continue. Some of them touched down in Northeast Ohio on Wednesday.

NORTH CANTON, Ohio — After Hurricane Ian swept through Southwest Florida, leaving a path of destruction behind, shelters from all across the country are coming together to help clear the kennels in those hard hit cities.

The goal is to make room for displaced pets, as shelters brace for an influx.

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Some of those adoptable animals touched down on Wednesday at Akron-Canton Airport.

"We've pulled animals from several different shelters that had devastation so we could bring them up North," said Pam Whaley, Naples Humane Society veterinarian assistant.

Empty shelters give pets a safe place to stay, and time for them to reunite with their families.

A lesson that was learned after Hurricane Katrina.

"Families then were trying to look for their animals and were finding out that they'd already been shipped to Connecticut, and trying to get their animals back or trying to coordinate getting their pets back was almost impossible," said Greg Willey, executive director of Friendship Animal Protective League in Elyria.

Credit: Bri Buckley

The trip started in Naples with 130 dogs and cats, then stopped in Virginia and New York to drop off some of the animals to other partner shelters, before finishing at the Akron-Canton Airport.

The private plane was coordinated and funded by the BISSELL Pet Foundation.

"I think a lot of people think animal welfare is about abuse and neglect and a lot of times its about animals that need a second chance," Willey said. 

Credit: Bri Buckley

Seven dogs were taken to Friendship APL, and the others went to shelters from Toledo, Western Pennsylvania and Windsor, Ontario.

"Shelters are usually full all over the place, so just for the extra help, its great," said Whaley. 

More Hurricane Ian coverage on WKYC.com:

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