Superstorm Sandy orphaned pets arrive in San Diego

45 cats and dogs will be adopted on Wednesday

SAN DIEGO - A group of 60 orphaned cats and dogs that survived the devastation of Superstorm Sandy are just days away from finding new permanent homes in San Diego.

The Helen Woodard Animal Shelter teamed up with SeaWorld and Southwest Airlines to provide transportation and safe shelter for the displaced animals from New Jersey and Long Island, N.Y.

"When hurricane Sandy hit, a lot of those shelters were completely wiped out," said Jessica Gercke, public affairs manager with the center. "There's no electricity, there's no supplies."

The pets arrived at Lindbergh Field late Saturday afternoon and were taken to the Helen Woodward Center in Rancho Santa Fe. 

"For what they've been through, I think they're doing good," said Dr. Stephanie Oba, a veterinarian at the center.   "They're still in good spirits, they're still happy."

Oba said other than some skin issueds due to damp conditions during the storm, most of the cats and dogs are in good health.

Veterinarians at the animal center will examine the animals and give them the needed care. They will also spay and neuter them before they can be adopted. 

Southwest Airlines and SeaWorld San Diego teamed up to fly the four-legged passengers to San Diego on a charter plane.

"When the airplane touched down there on the tarmac and they opened up the doors, some of the pilots were holding puppies, flight attendants were holding puppies," said Gercke.

Many have volunteered to care for these pets, but the canines and felines are still in need of donations.

"Dog beds, cat beds, food bowls, blankets, anything that people can provide for these wonderful animals," Gercke said.

Once treated for conditions and getting spayed, neutered, vaccinated and micro chipped the animals will be ready for life on the west coast.

Employees at the center told 10News they hope the pets can begin going home to their new loving families as soon as Wednesday.

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