Ahead of Tropical Storm Barry making landfall along the Louisiana coast, more than 120 dogs and cats in the storm's path were flown to safety.
The animals were evacuated Friday from St. Landry Parish Animal Control and St. Martin Animal Shelter in Louisiana and flown to Manassas in northern Virginia, the Humane Society of the United States said.
Staff and volunteers of the humane society helped unload the pets from the plane and took them to nearby shelters with the hope that they will eventually be adopted.
According to the Humane Society, the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation in Virginia, St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center in New Jersey and the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria are three of the nonprofit’s six rescue partners sheltering some of the dogs and cats that landed in Virginia.
Nineteen other pets from the Gulf Coast area were transported to Atlanta Humane Georgia.
All the pets being evacuated from Louisiana were already up for adoption in the state, Diane Robinson, disaster services manager at the Humane Society, told NBC News.
However, relocating them outside of the hurricane-threatened region helps increase the capacity of Louisiana shelters as they prepare for an anticipated influx of animals displaced by Hurricane Barry.
“Shelters during the summer are usually at capacity,” Robinson said. “So an event like a hurricane puts a lot of pressure on these already-full facilities.”
While it is hard to anticipate how many animals could get displaced by Barry, previous hurricanes such as Katrina displaced or killed thousands of animals.
For this reason, the humane society is urging pet owners to take precautions for their animals’ safety during and after the storm.
The organization recommends that pet owners have sufficient food and water for at least five days, make sure that their cats and dogs are wearing a collar with identification that is up to date, and keep current photos and descriptions of their pets to help others identify them in case owners and pets become separated, among other recommendations.