Virginia woman chartered plane to rescue 300 animals from Hurricane Maria


Sali Gear thought she had time to plan the largest animal rescue mission she’s ever taken on. The Virginia Beach resident co-owns Island Dog Rescue, a local nonprofit that specializes in saving dogs from the U.S. Virgin Islands, where she grew up. After Hurricane Irma devastated St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix, she planned to fly about 20 animals to the continental U.S. each day over a week. Then Hurricane Maria threatened the Caribbean islands — and her plans. Gear had two days to come up with a way to fly 300 animals to her farm in Virginia Beach. Her solution was to charter a plane — fast — for a $112,000 flight from Miami to rescue the cats and dogs. She also had $5,000 in pet carriers. The animals landed safely Tuesday.


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