Plane carrying Hurricane Irma shelter dogs arrives in WNY

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Dozens of dogs are looking for forever homes after a plane carrying more than a hundred dogs from areas impacted by hurricane Irma landed in Cheektowaga Monday.

The trip to Western New York was quite the journey as the plane made a pit stop to drop off more than 50 dogs to nearby shelters in Delaware and Pennsylvania.

More than 30 dogs arrived in Cheektowaga from the Tampa Bay area in Florida. The dogs were already up for adoption before Hurricane Irma made landfall. Affected shelters needed to make room for dogs displaced from their owners during the storm.

The Erie County SPCA gave away their animals over the weekend to make room for the Hurricane Irma dogs.

“We adopted up every single dog that was available for adoption, almost all the adult cats and just cleared the shelters which makes room to bring in animals to help out,” said Gary Willoughby, President and CEO of SPCA serving Erie County.

“It’s such a great feeling, I mean we were waiting for the call, they were obviously going through a lot down there,” said Arynn Brucie with the SPCA of Chemung County.

The SPCA of Erie County took in 22 of the dogs while the Toronto Humane Society and Chemung County SPCA took the rest.

“A couple of them seem a little nervous, but that’s to be expected. I mean imagine being abducted by aliens and put here, that’s kind of what it feels like for them,” said Brucie.

“It’s been a long day, they’re probably tired and thirsty and hungry, some of them are pretty dirty, so we’ll get them back, we have volunteers lined up at the shelter ready to bring them back in, clean them up, take them for walks,” said Willoughby.

As all three shelters get each dog checked out and ready for adoption, they say more dogs could be headed this way.

“There’s still a lot more coming in from these two hurricanes, so we’ll be pretty much doing this non-stop for the rest of this calendar year,” said Willoughby.

Officials say the animals will be up for adoptions this week.

In the next 30 days, if owners don’t claim their dogs in hurricane hit areas, those shelters will start transferring the animals to out-of-state shelters so they can find new homes. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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