'Operation Noah's Ark' Bringing Pets from Hurricane-Devastated Areas to Orlando … and Back Again

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‘Operation Noah’s Ark’ Bringing Pets from Hurricane-Devastated Areas to Orlando … and Back Again

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Orlando –
ORLANDO — SPCA Partners With Darden Restaurants to Rescue Gulf Coast Pets

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) of Central Florida announced last Friday that it is partnering with Darden Restaurants to rescue pets that were orphaned in the wake of hurricanes that slammed the Gulf Coast this summer.

In a twist on the theme of pet rescue, the program also will identify and reunite pets, brought to Central Florida for medical care, with their owners now living throughout the United States.

“We were able to rescue more than 300 animals from Louisiana last week,” said Barbara Wetzler, executive director of the SPCA, about the new program known as Operation Noah’s Ark. “We will add to that number on October 11, when we return from Gulfport, Mississippi with a specially equipped truck designed to transport animals safely. And we have already identified 20 pets to reunite with Gulf Coast families.”

In addition to saving the animals and transporting them back to Central Florida, Darden has committed to help the SPCA fund medication and pharmaceutical supplies that many of the pets need when they arrive.

“By transporting the animals in a temperature-controlled truck, we are able to ensure their well-being during the trip,” said George Williams, vice president of Environmental Affairs at Darden. “Many of these pets are sick and need medication. And finally, we want good homes for all of these pets.”

After the animals are healthy, pets will be either reunited with their Gulf Coast families free of charge, or the SPCA will work to find adoptive homes for them throughout Florida. Currently, the organization has a 100 percent adoption rate for healthy animals.

The SPCA is also working with Darden to assess the need for future trips to the Gulf Coast to rescue pets. For more information on the project or how you can adopt an animal from SPCA — which promotes responsible human behavior toward animals — contact the organization at 407-351-7722 or visit http://www.ohs-spca.org/ .

Founded in 1937, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) of Central Florida, Inc. is an independent, non-profit, animal welfare organization. SPCA is the oldest, largest animal welfare agency with a 100 percent adoption rate for those animals who are healthy and friendly.

Darden (NYSE:DRI) owns and operates nearly 1,400 Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, Smokey Bones and Seasons 52 restaurants in North America. Based in Orlando, Fla., Darden is the nation’s largest casual dining company. It records annual sales of more than $5.3 billion and employs more than 150,000 people.

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Monday, October 10, 2005 04:10 AM

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