By: Dale King Contributing Writer
Boca Raton-based Tri County Animal Rescue (TCAR) continues to take its main mission “on the road.” Volunteers are hard at work rescuing dogs and cats from Puerto Rico — animals left homeless by Hurricane Maria in 2017.
Workers are also shuttling off to Alabama where dozens of animals that otherwise would face euthanasia in a high-kill shelter have literally been saved from “doggie death row.”
Officials at the TCAR shelter on Boca Rio Road said nine dogs were rescued from the Caribbean island on Aug. 10.
“In total, Tri County has rescued about 500 dogs and cats from Puerto Rico since the devastating hurricane, and plans are in the works to save another 50 in the very near future,” said officials at the shelter. “The dogs will be available for adoption soon.”
In the meantime, TCAR is preparing for a Sept. 6 news conference to announce a $10 million capital campaign to replace the private shelter’s too small, rundown facilities and show off the first phase of the expansion which is now under construction. Tours of the existing facility will be available to the media.
Tri-County reports $3 million has already been pledged to the fundraiser.
The new 64,000-square-foot campus will feature a canine adoption center, feline adoption center, long-term housing, a veterinary surgical center, care and isolation areas for rescues and “Hospets” for animals with medical needs.
Much of the new facility will be open to the public, including a mausoleum with a serenity garden, increased in-ground burial plots, an agility course, in-ground pool, dog park and boarding and grooming, as well as public spaces for education and training programs.
A pet parade will also be held that day in celebration of the no-kill shelter’s expansion. The Oct. 3 event begins at 11 a.m.
Tri-County Animal Rescue is a 100% no-kill 501(c) 3 nonprofit animal shelter working to prevent the killing of more than 170,000 unwanted animals in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties each year.
Since its inception, Tri County has saved more than 55,000 domestic animals from being euthanized, placing them in homes through their adoption center. Tri County also works with organizations, businesses, and local school districts to educate the community on awareness of the needs of animals and the need to spay and neuter to keep the stray population in check.
Pam DuBois, who is in charge of events and volunteer coordination at TCAR, said workers from the shelter have traveled across the nation to rescue endangered animals, as long ago as Hurricane Katrina. They went to Oklahoma in 2013 to save dogs and cats stranded by tornadoes and recently, set off on its “’Bama Babies’ effort to bring home 68 puppies.
Another mission that resulted in the rescue of 87 dogs took place in Vernon, Fla., where animals were removed from a breeder-turned-hoarder.
The Boca shelter networks with other dog rescue centers to find out where there is a glut of potential pets that can’t be dealt with in that region.
She said many rescues come from high-kill shelters that are overwhelmed by the numbers of homeless animals. “We are a 100 percent no-kill shelter,” said DuBois. “Not many others can say that.”
Tri County was founded in 1996 by the late Jeannette Christos and Suzi Goldsmith, who is now executive director. Initially, it had no specific location, but, in 2001, the city of Boca Raton allowed Tri County to take over and improve the operations of the municipal shelter located at 21287 Boca Rio Road.
TCAR conducts a “doggie and kittie” ball each year as its major fundraiser. It also accepts donations and has a list of many philanthropic donors.
DuBois said Tri County also conducts fundraisers at various business locations and other sites. Recent community events were held at Grieco Automotive in Delray Beach, which is also a major donor; the Hooters restaurant in Boca Raton, which drew a crowd of 70 people, and Town Center Mall.
For more information on Tri-County, including making donations, volunteering, special events or adoptions, visit tricountyanimalrescue.com