Donations for Hurricane Pet Evacuations
Canadian Woman Drives to Knoxville to Deliver Pet Donations to Skyline Owner Operator
Britney Condotta is an animal lover on a mission – literally. She drove from Ontario, Canada to Knoxville, TN to deliver pet donations, food and supplies that she collected for animals rescued from Hurricane Florence by Tony Alsup. Tony is an owner operator for Skyline who manages a nonprofit T.E.A.R.S. – Tony’s Emergency Animal Rescue and Shelter. (@TEARS.org) You may remember his pet evacuation efforts last year with hurricane’s Harvey, Irma and Maria. He’s the one who bought a school bus to transport pets out of hurricane affected regions.
So why did this woman and her Great Dane puppy, Tom, drive more than 1,200 kilometers to Skyline’s drop yard in Knoxville? Donations, social media and a shared passion.
Britney and her family own and operate a winery in Ontario called Honsberger Estate. More than a dog-friendly winery, this estate is a functioning farm with livestock. During Hurricane Florence, Britney was searching for how to help animal rescue and evacuation efforts.
“I saw the first story about Tony, then another, then another. I started following his efforts and reached out to see how I could get involved. He answered me back, and here I am.”
Britney reached out to her social network and from a single Instagram post came an outpouring of donations.
“I have over 800 pounds of food, 100 pounds of treats, wet cat food, new and used equipment, bedding and supplies, leashes and collars. These are doggy costumes for Halloween. I even have equine liquids but I can’t transport that across the border. I’m in a pickle with the border”
Customs has complicated the logistics of getting donations from point A to point B. In addition to general restrictions around liquids and medicines, Britney can only transport a certain amount of food across customs without it being considered for resale. So she loaded up her Dodge Ram and made her first trip.
Britney has a huge inventory of donations in Ontario that is awaiting distribution, with more coming in every day.
“I’ll be shipping more stuff down to Skyline. There’s also a few not-for-profits here in Canada. I foster with Pets Alive Niagara and there’s also Redemption Paws, both help rescue and re-home dogs. Redemption Paws actually inspired me to drive down because they had made a trip and I had too many donations for them to take.”
Britney said she was motivated by Tony’s grass-roots, boots-on-the-ground operation. She couldn’t believe that he was the one actually going out to the affected areas and performing the rescues and evacuations.
“It’s not his job, he doesn’t have to do it. It’s his passion.”
After unloading her truck for the first time, Britney left to purchase more pet food with cash donations and gift cards. After her second trip, and a tour around the office to show off Tom to Skyline staff, we said goodbye and she headed north back to Canada.
“I’ll be back.”