BRUNSWICK — The Coastal Humane Society welcomed 22 rescue dogs from hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico late Wednesday night, Oct. 11.

The dogs were 22 of 200 flown into Worcester Regional Airport on a specially chartered plane as part of a rescue mission coordinated by the San Juan-based All Sato Rescue, along with the help of Wings of Rescue and Mission Miracle. Seven New England shelters across Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, took in dozens of dogs each to help in hurricane relief efforts. Even some cats were able to get some room on the plane, and now they are all seeking homes.

While Puerto Rico normally grapples with high numbers of stray street dogs, or “satos,” the situation has grown dire after hurricanes Irma and Maria tore through the island. According to a fundraising page created by All Sato Rescue, assistance from other shelters is crucial as the island rebuilds.

“After hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated our island, All Sato Rescue has more than 500 animals in our care in need of transportation to the northeast to find new homes. As a foster-based rescue, our foster homes are flooded and damaged, yet our volunteers are still providing care to animals in need. With limited food, drinking water and power, it is the most critical time to fly our animals to safety and adoptive homes,” the page states.

Coastal Humane Society and Lincoln County Animal Shelter (now one organization) have worked with All Sato Rescue in the past to take in stray dogs as kennel space allows, but the organization is especially glad to have the opportunity to help in the wake of the storms.

Coastal Humane Society also rescued six cats displaced by Hurricane Irma from the Naples Cat Alliance in Florida, now available for adoption. As in all hurricane rescue efforts between shelters, these animals were in shelters before the storms hit. Transferring them to other facilities allows shelters in affected areas to make room for pets and animals that go missing in hurricanes and other natural disasters.

The dogs are receiving medical exams and spay/neuter surgeries and were to go up for adoption as early as Saturday, Oct. 14, at the Coastal Humane Society facility on Range Road.

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Street dogs, or “Satos,” from Puerto Rico arrive in Worcester, Massachusetts, via private plane on Oct. 11, before making the penultimate leg of the journey by van to Coastal Humane Society. Next and final stop: adoption.

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