Nassau Humane rescues some of 97 dogs saved in Bahamas home

Nassau helping Nassau: Humane Society assists in Hurricane Dorian relief

By Sharon Siegel-Cohen - Executive producer, Mary Baer - 5, 6 & 10 p.m. anchor

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. - The viral story of a woman in the Bahamas who rescued 97 dogs in her home during Hurricane Dorian now has a local twist.

The Nassau Humane Society has rescued 27 of the dogs that Chella Phillips kept in her home as the wind and rain battered the Bahamas for days.

"Over the past week, we've been collaborating with a lot of different rescue groups and some wonderful just individuals that have stepped up and offered their assistance," said Christina Sutherin, operations director of the Nassau Humane Society. "So we, by all means, said if we've got space, that's what we're here for. It's all about the animals."

The shelter's mission -- Nassau helping Nassau -- was launched to help both animals and people suffering in the Bahamas in the wake of the record-breaking hurricane.

As part of that effort to help the Bahamas, Nassau Humane reached out to Phillips' rescue and other rescues that were assisting her and offered to take in some of the dogs.

Nearly 30 of them made their way to Nassau County overnight Tuesday. They will be quarantined for at least two weeks and then will be available for foster care or adoption.

"The big thing was getting them through customs and making sure we have all of their paperwork from while they were over in Nassau, Bahamas," Sutherin said. "They will stay here until they are made available for adoption. People can come in. We are not doing preadoptions on them. Only because we want the opportunity to know them so we can match them up with who is best suited for them."

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Nassau Humane Society's shelter was nearly empty after community support to help clear the shelter before Hurricane Dorian. 

While Nassau Humane Society said it is definitely focused on the animals on the islands, it's also focused on the Bahamians.  

"People and pets go hand in hand. There's a human-animal bond that's so incredibly important. And we want to be able to continue to facilitate that for devastated areas and for those animals that were already homeless prior to the storm, get them into places so that this is just something that we can perpetuate and continue, and we want other communities to pick this up, too," Sutherin said last week. "One of our priorities is that we don't want any animal to leave that could be potentially reconnected with, and reunited with, its owner. So there will be a little bit longer of a holding time, but they're going to fly down there, take supplies with them. So we are accepting donations of supplies to go and help people who still have their pets, people who don't have homes. This is a people and pets effort that we're putting together here." 

Nassau Humane Society is accepting donations for both people and animals in the Bahamas and the dogs rescued from the islands. Anyone wishing to make a donation can visit the Nassau Humane Society website. More information can also be found on the organization's Facebook page.

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