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Allegheny County police, medical examiner's office collect 3,500 pounds of dog food for pets rescued from hurricanes

Aaron Aupperlee
| Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, 5:33 p.m.

Truck after truck backed into a loading dock at the Allegheny County Police Department on Saturday and left loaded with pet food, toys and supplies.

Employees with the county police and Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office for two weeks collected supplies for animal shelters in Western Pennsylvania that had rescued pets from areas devastated by recent hurricanes.

“We knew that we had to do something to help the animals,” Susan Stanich, a scientist at the medical examiner's office.

Each county police station was turned into a drop-off location, Stanich said. Employees and members of the communities brought in supplies. A school made braided dog toys and a woman knit cat beds. One family donated their vacation money after the storms canceled the plans.

The police and medical examiner's office collected 3,500 pounds of dry dog food, more than 300 pounds of Milk Bones and countless containers of cat food, Stanich said. There were blankets, dog and cat toys, leashes, food and water bowls and cleaning supplies.

“The response was overwhelming,” said police Lt. Andrew Schurman.

The donations were divided up among nine shelters.

“It's a tremendous help,” said Erin Cassidy, a humane police officer with Westmoreland County that volunteers with All But Furgotten, a shelter in North Huntingdon.

All But Furgotten took in several dogs from areas affected by the hurricanes. They have all been adopted, Cassidy said.

Fifteen dogs and six cats from St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John arrived Wednesday in Pittsburgh, said Kent Knight, who went to the islands on a 737 cargo plane to rescue 270 dogs and cats from shelters. The pets first flew to Virginia. The Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team then flew the pets to the Allegheny County Airport, Knight, a volunteer with Pet Search, said. “Before Maria hit, we wanted to get the shelters empty, and we were able to do that,” Knight said.

Emptying the shelters before Hurricane Maria freed up space for pets abandoned and made homeless by the storm, Knight said.

The Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team rescued 67 dogs at the beginning of the month from areas of Texas hit by Hurricane Harvey.

Knight said the pets rescued from the Caribbean will be ready for adoption after they receive medical treatment, are spayed and neuter and wait out a two-week quarantine.

Westmoreland County Humane Police Office Erin Cassidy holds Rocco, a dog rescued from a shelter before he was euthanized. Cassidy volunteers with All But Furgotten, a North Huntingdon animal shelter that has taken in pets from areas hit by recent hurricanes. (Photo by Aaron Aupperlee | Tribune-Review)
Westmoreland County Humane Police Office Erin Cassidy holds Rocco, a dog rescued from a shelter before he was euthanized. Cassidy volunteers with All But Furgotten, a North Huntingdon animal shelter that has taken in pets from areas hit by recent hurricanes. (Photo by Aaron Aupperlee | Tribune-Review)
Allegheny County Police Detective Tom DeTemple loads a box of Milk Bones into an SUV bound for the All But Furgotten animal shelter in North Huntingdon. County police and the Alleghey County Medical Examiner's Office collected food and supplies for shelters taking in pets from areas hit by recent hurricanes. (Photo by Aaron Aupperlee | Tribune-Review)
Allegheny County Police Detective Tom DeTemple loads a box of Milk Bones into an SUV bound for the All But Furgotten animal shelter in North Huntingdon. County police and the Alleghey County Medical Examiner's Office collected food and supplies for shelters taking in pets from areas hit by recent hurricanes. (Photo by Aaron Aupperlee | Tribune-Review)
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