My name is Sue Cushman, The Director of Operations for Tony Alsup with T.E.A.R.S. Foundation 911 . "Tony's Emergency Animal Rescue and Shelters" has saved over 4000 animals from imminent death from the devastating hurricanes that have hit Fl, NC, SC, GA, Puerto Rico and Texas just in the last year alone. Tony's deep love for animals and people compelled him to take action when the people of Texas needed it the most. He drove from TN and promptly invested in flat bottom boat and his now famous school bus that he quickly modified as a mobile kennel and shelter. His successful missions in saving lives in Texas led him receiving calls from around the country from people or organizations that are looking for a safe haven for animals and a means for transport. If there is a mandatory evacuation issued by the Governor, it is not uncommon for an animal shelter to not have a contingency plan and that is where Tony comes in.
Immediately after Texas and South Florida hurricanes hit last year, Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico and devastated the island. Tony packed his tools, transported two extended cab pick up trucks via barge and went to work rebuilding kennels and homes as well as assisting the community with much needed food and water as well as arranging these transports of animals. Most of the vehicles were either flooded or damaged by flying debris. The ones that were not damaged were being rented for exorbitant prices. All of the humanitarian orgs that were on the ground needed a way to transport goods to the people and Tony provided a solution. He remained in Puerto Rico for almost a year, living without electricity and clean running water for the majority of the his time there. We are still working diligently in PR with our partner on the ground and have a great deal of work to do moving forward.
He has spent the last couple of weeks in Mexico Beach, Panama City and all the surrounding areas of the Florida Pan Handle after Hurricane Michael came through as a CAT 4. He and his team of volunteers perform search and rescue operations, providing food, water, medical aid and a variety of supplies, temporary shelter and permanent shelter with eventual reunification of animals that have been displaced with their owners! We also assist in facilitating adoptions for these furry friends. He has become well known for acquiring a variety of unusual modes of transportation to have a successful mission, including a school bus, flat bottom boats, amphibious vehicles and even a retired military tank.
During Hurricane Michael, as the winds were howling, he rescued 72 cats from a shelter that was 10 blocks from the beach and was forced to spend the night in the school bus in the Panama City Coliseum parking garage. He cared for these animals for several days before transporting them to a safer space and placing them with a facility that could care for them until adoption arrangements were made. Tony will go to the ends of earth to stop any euthanization! We purposefully move animals from "kill shelters" to safe havens where they are given a loving temporary home until they are adopted. We obtain all the necessary medical clearances prior to permanent placements and document every animal that is rescued, which entails our cooperating entities scanning the animal for chips to track their owners. During Hurricane Michael, we obtained the use of a goat farm and ranch in Tallahassee Florida to use as a staging area for these animals with covered, protected areas for the collection of supplies as well as plenty of space for the animals to run around.
We need your help to continue to pay for the transportation and distribution of humanitarian aid for our pets as well as for pet owners, specifically in the Florida Pan Handle as well as Puerto Rico. Our work is not complete in Florida. They still need us and we have purchased and donated supplies in TN that are being prepared for our next transport there. In addition, we have a partner on the ground in Puerto Rico that is the only approved animal sanctuary for pit bulls which were once outlawed in PR. We have additional displaced dogs in PR that are in need of transport to the mainland, to be reunited with their owners. These owners have lost everything due to Hurricane Maria and were forced to move to the mainland without them! Getting medical clearances before, during or after a major hurricane hit PR was nearly impossible and severely expensive! Without shelter, clean water, electricity and work, Puerto Ricans were forced to leave their homeland and most fled to Florida. Our mission consists of getting all the necessary medical clearances for these dogs and flying them out to their owners. If the owners have a pet deposit that they are not able to pay for, we will step in and do so for them. Other animals are being moved from the overcrowded shelters in PR to safe sanctuaries in the states as well.
Pictures and updates of PR transports are posted through TEARS Transport on FB and will continue to be posted here! We could not do any of this without the support of the community and appreciate all that you do!
Please follow us on Facebook under Tony Alsup, Tony's Emergency Animal Rescue and Shelters and TEARS Pet Transport. We thank you and love you for all of your support!
As Tony would say...."Luv ya, mean it!!"
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