A pet lover has made it his mission to pick up the “leftovers” – the shelter pets left behind during evacuation from Hurricane Florence – and is using a school bus to rescue them.
Tony Alsup is a trucker from Greenback, Tennessee. Last week he drove his school bus into South Carolina to the animal shelters in the path of the storm to get the animals that no one else would take.
“It’s so easy for people to adopt the small pets and the cuties and the cuddly,” Alsup told USA Today. “We take on the ones that deserve a chance even though they are big and a little ugly. But I love big dogs, and we find places for them.”
Alsup drove his school bus to several shelters in South Carolina – North Myrtle Beach, Dylan, Georgetown and Orangeburg – and loaded up 53 dogs and 11 cats.
While on his trip, Alsup kept his Facebook followers informed of where he was and asked people to point him where pets needed help. “NO ONE LEFT BEHIND,” he wrote in one Facebook post.”
When his bus was full he drove them to Foley, Alabama. From there, the pets will be spread to shelters throughout the country for adoption.
“It’s all true. Tony swooped in at 4am Wednesday morning to pick up our ‘leftovers’ — the dogs with blocky heads, the ones with heartworm,” Saint Frances Animal Center wrote on Facebook. “The ones no one else will ever take. And he got them to safety. Not the most conventional evacuation, but surely the one with the most heart.”
Alsup began his rescue efforts last year when he saw a plea to help evacuate shelter pets from Hurricane Harvey. He volunteered to transfer pets in his semi-truck but could only carry a few in the cab of the truck. That’s when he went and bought a bus so he could transfer more.
Since then, he’s helped transport animals from several hurricanes.
Alsup told the Washington Post he wants to open his own animal shelter one day.
“Animals — especially shelter pets — they always have to take the back seat of the bus,” he said. “But I’ll give them their own bus. If I have to I’ll pay for all the fuel, or even a boat, to get these dogs out of there.”
Until that day arrives, he’ll continue to track down the pets who need help and make sure they get their second chances.