TAMPA (FOX 13) - It's a two-day mission to Puerto Rico, the biggest rescue the Suncoast Animal League has ever done.
Volunteers were on the island about two and a half weeks ago to plan and map out the best way to help. The squalor and desperation still emotional to think about.
"I've cried every day since getting back,” said Annette Dettloff, director of development for Suncoast Animal League. “It's hard because I have to represent the dogs and the cats, and when I was there I saw so many people having such a hard time, and you just can't not be affected by the people."
An extremely generous, anonymous donor has made sure the group can head to San Juan for a second time. This trip they will focus on the animal shelters and bringing abandoned pets back to the mainland. Workers at the facilities are struggling to care for the creatures because they are barely surviving themselves.
It's about a three-hour flight down to the U.S. territory. The team will be on the ground Sunday night and out distributing supplies first thing Monday.
Two cargo planes packed with a total of 15,000 pounds of cat food, dog food, and medical supplies will follow them down. Every item was donated by folks in our area and across the country.
"We will, in a two-day time frame distribute that across multiple shelters in Puerto Rico, on the East Coast, on the West Coast, and then some individuals that are in need that we've been hearing from,” Detloff said.
After that, the massive aircraft will be loaded back up with about 125 cats and dogs, coming back to our area to find new homes.
The Suncoast Animal League team just needs to figure out where to put them all.
"So we're hoping that somebody donates a warehouse or a storefront or somewhere we can put them all when we get here Tuesday,” added Dettloff.
They're optimistic those details will fall into place while they're nearly 1,200 miles away making a difference.