Nearly 800 animals evacuated to safety in Puerto Rico

Nearly 800 animals evacuated from Puerto Rico

Veterinary community joins with St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center to provide shelter from the storm

Madison, NJ, 10/11/17 – In the wake of Hurricane Maria, airplanes filled with dogs, puppies, cats, kittens and even three pot-bellied pigs from shelters in Puerto Rico arrived around-the-clock at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey. The American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) provided a $38,000 grant for the first round of medical supplies needed for the emergency intake and care of the 786 animals airlifted to safety. The New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association (NJVMA) put out a call to its membership. To date 25 veterinarians, often accompanied by their technician teams, have volunteered to provide examinations and care, putting in more than 162 hours of volunteer time.

The emptied airplanes returned to Puerto Rico with both human and animal supplies collected by St. Hubert’s.

“Having been born and raised in Puerto Rico, with my family and friends still there, words cannot express how grateful I am for the positive impact St. Hubert’s has made in the lives of four and two- legged Puerto Ricans after Hurricane Maria,” said NJVMA member and veterinary volunteer, Dr. Janirka Ponce of the Animal Infirmary of Hoboken.

St. Hubert’s was chosen as the initial emergency intake center in the United States because of its network of shelters along the eastern United States and its regular work helping overcrowded shelters throughout southeast and other parts of the country. The St. Hubert’s network assisted animals from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

“We are so proud of and grateful for the collaboration and challenging work of so many to make this effort possible,” said Heather Cammisa, President & CEO of St. Hubert’s. “The veterinary community has been a critical ally to help these deserving animals,” she added.

After the initial veterinary examination, vaccinations, blood screening, preventatives, microchipping and the issuance of health certificates the animals transfer on to St. Hubert’s and other organizations’ adoption programs for ongoing care and placement. Some of the animals have already been adopted, including the three pot-bellied pigs who were adopted together by a New Jersey family.

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation is committed to helping all veterinarians improve the health and welfare of all animals. The prompt and caring response of New Jersey veterinarians to tend to and treat the hundreds of animals brought to them from storm-ravaged Puerto Rico is our mission in action,” said Jan Strother, DVM, chair of the Foundation.

For more information visit St. Hubert’s website at


Founded in 1939, St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the humane treatment of animals. Its services to the community include pet adoption and animal rescue, humane education, a pet helpline, pet training, professional education, animal-assisted therapy, and pet loss support. St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center has shelters in Madison, North Branch, and Ledgewood, NJ, The Behavior Center in Madison, and a PetSmart Charities Everyday Adoption Center at the PetSmart in Mt. Olive. For more information about St. Hubert’s, visit or contact the Madison shelter at (973) 377-2295, the North Branch shelter at (908) 526-3330, the Ledgewood shelter at (973) 347-5469, or the Everyday Adoption Center at (973) 448-7601, ext. 7.


The American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) is the charitable arm of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world. More than 89,000 member veterinarians worldwide are engaged in a wide variety of professional activities. For more than 50 years, the Foundation has been helping veterinarians help animals with support for animal welfare, education, advocacy, community service and research programs and activities. AVMF is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt charitable organization.