Dogs, cats rescued from Hurricane Ian arrive in Chicago

As resources continue to pour into Florida for those devastated by Hurricane Ian, PAWS Chicago is doing its part to help.  

On Tuesday evening, more than 50 animals that were rescued from shelters impacted by Hurricane Ian arrived in Chicago.

"We emptied the vans of donations and filled them up with pets – cats and dogs, and they just arrived, and we’re so excited to see them here," said Susanna Wickham, CEO of PAWS Chicago.

The nonprofit sent rescue vans to Florida’s hardest hit areas where they picked up 12 dogs and 41 cats from three different shelters.

"There are kittens, you can hear them meowing. They are, it seems, excited to be here," said Wickham.

"These are really, really nice dogs. Each one, I spent time with before we left, easy to put their collars, leashes on, very affectionate," said Joan Harris, PAWS Chicago director of training and canine behavior.

On Tuesday, those animals arrived safely to the Paws Chicago Medical Center after a nearly 24-hour journey.


"We know how important pets are to their families and to the people who love them, so we want to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to relieve some of the pressure that the region is feeling," said Wickham.

It's a sigh of relief for several Florida shelters – some of which were destroyed when Hurricane Ian made landfall.

"We went directly to the zone affected by Hurricane Ian and what we saw was a total collapse of infrastructure," said Wickham.

Other shelters need to clear space for animals that were lost during the storm and for pets that may be given up for adoption as their owners grapple with devastating damage.

"PAWS is a No Kill organization so the beauty of these pets arriving here is that they’re guaranteed life," said Wickham.

The animals are currently getting acclimated to their new shelter, where they will be given medical exams and prepared for adoption.

PAWS Chicago launched its disaster response program in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The nonprofit is planning to return to the Fort Myers area in the coming weeks to bring back even more animals.

Meanwhile, a big thank you to everyone who has donated to FOX’s Hurricane Ian and Fiona relief efforts. Your donations have topped $1 million.

This in addition to FOX Corporate’s $1 million contribution.

The money is going to the American Red Cross to support their relief efforts.

If you have not already, and would like to help, donations are being taken at