Dozens of shelter animals rescued from Hurricane Ian arrive in Delaware, ready for adoption

Out of all the loss, devastation, and heartbreak that has come from Southwest Florida this week, there is still hope for some of the displaced, four-legged victims of the storm.

The Brandywine Valley SPCA organized a rescue airlift of shelter animals from Florida following Hurricane Ian's catastrophic damage. On Monday, 68 animals arrived in New Castle, Del., on a Wings of Rescue Flight, ready to be adopted into their next loving family as early as Tuesday. 

"Many of these animals quite frankly would have never made it out," said Laura Page of Brandywine Valley SPCA. 

The animals were adoptable in Florida shelters prior to the storm. As they arrived in Delaware, FOX 29's Chris O'Connell said you could hear the barking from inside the single engine plane before the doors even opened. 

Sara Smith, of the Brandywine Valley SPCA, says moving these animals out of Florida gives the shelters down there the opportunity to focus on family pets that have been displaced during Ian. It will allow shelters to focus on a smaller group of animals as they work to get people's pets back to their rightful homes. 


Kale Garcia, of Bend, Oregon, is the pilot for Wings of Rescue. He volunteers his time and his plane for the organization's mission.

"It’s super cool, super fulfilling, knowing they’re getting another chance at a great home a great life," said Garcia. 

Over the years, Garcia has transported nearly 10,000 displaced animals on flights towards a new life. He says upon arrival, some animals know that they have been saved. 

"A lot of times you see a difference when they get on the plane, they are scared not knowing what’s going on. How could you not be happy with all this love. When you land, you open the door and there’s nothing but love there. And the animals change. They know they are in a good place," he said. 

The animals next stop is to one of the local shelters in New Castle and West Chester. Hopefully after that, these friendly companions will find their forever homes. 

"The worst in humanity coupled with the best in humanity. These animals may have been in challenging situations and now here they are getting a fresh start," said volunteer, Erin Murphy.

The animals' medical screenings will be on Monday night and by Tuesday, starting at noon, they will be available for adoption at the Brandywine Valley SPCA. Adoption information can be found here