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Pet lover helps dozens of cats and dogs escape Hurricane Florence on a school bus

There is nothing like a meal at the Waffle House after driving more than 60 animals from the South Carolina coast to southern Alabama inside a school bus. Tony Alsup can attest.

Alsup, a 51-year-old trucker from Greenback, Tenn., was parked at a Waffle House outside Fayetteville, N.C., on Sunday night for a quick pit stop and a plate of waffles and grits. He had been on the road since Monday, when he hopped in his bus and headed toward the coast, committed to rescuing as many animals as possible ahead of Hurricane Florence.

Inside the bus, the seats have been ripped out to make room for its passengers. On the bus’s side are the words “EMERGENCY ANIMAL RESCUE SHELTER.” But it could have said “Noah’s Ark.”

In the last week, Alsup and his bus have rescued 53 dogs and 11 cats from South Carolina shelters that were in Florence’s treacherous path, as first reported by the Greenville News.

And come morning, Alsup expects to search for more.

“I’m like, look, these are lives too,” Alsup told The Washington Post during his Waffle House stop. “Animals  — especially shelter pets — they always have to take the back seat of the bus. But I’ll give them their own bus. If I have to I’ll pay for all the fuel, or even a boat, to get these dogs out of there.

Alsup, who wants to open his own animal shelter one day, has been rescuing shelter pets from floodwaters with his school bus since Hurricane Harvey ravaged the Texas coast last year. When Alsup saw on the news how numerous animal shelters had become overcrowded with lost or rescued animals, he thought he could help. He wanted to help transport the animals to vacant shelters — but he knew he couldn’t put them in a semitrailer

Trucker uses school bus to evacuate 64 pets from Florence’s path

Tony Alsup, a trucker from Greenback, Tenn., drove to South Carolina in a school bus to evacuate 53 dogs and 11 cats in the path of Hurricane Florence. 

September 17

There is nothing like a meal at the Waffle House after driving more than 60 animals from the South Carolina coast to southern Alabama inside a school bus. Tony Alsup can attest.

Alsup, a 51-year-old trucker from Greenback, Tenn., was parked at a Waffle House outside Fayetteville, N.C., on Sunday night for a quick pit stop and a plate of waffles and grits. He had been on the road since Monday, when he hopped in his bus and headed toward the coast, committed to rescuing as many animals as possible ahead of Hurricane Florence.

Inside the bus, the seats have been ripped out to make room for its passengers. On the bus’s side are the words “EMERGENCY ANIMAL RESCUE SHELTER.” But it could have said “Noah’s Ark.”

In the last week, Alsup and his bus have rescued 53 dogs and 11 cats from South Carolina shelters that were in Florence’s treacherous path, as first reported by the Greenville News.

And come morning, Alsup expects to search for more.

“I’m like, look, these are lives too,” Alsup told The Washington Post during his Waffle House stop. “Animals  — especially shelter pets — they always have to take the back seat of the bus. But I’ll give them their own bus. If I have to I’ll pay for all the fuel, or even a boat, to get these dogs out of there.”


Inside Tony Alsup’s animal-rescue bus. (Tony Alsup)

Alsup, who wants to open his own animal shelter one day, has been rescuing shelter pets from floodwaters with his school bus since Hurricane Harvey ravaged the Texas coast last year. When Alsup saw on the news how numerous animal shelters had become overcrowded with lost or rescued animals, he thought he could help. He wanted to help transport the animals to vacant shelters — but he knew he couldn’t put them in a semitrailer.

“I thought, well what can I do?” he said. “I’ll just go buy a bus.”

He has since helped with rescues during Hurricanes Irma and Maria (no bus for the latter; he was feeding horses) and now during Florence.

Last Monday, when Alsup began his latest rescues, the kennels in his vehicle were stacked from floor to ceiling. Pet food, water bowls, leashes and toys were strewn about the aisle. But as he rolled along his route, Alsup kept telling his Facebook followers that he had room for more, asking them to point him to where pets needed help. “NO ONE LEFT BEHIND,” he wrotein one Facebook post, before signing off with his standard line, “Love y’all, mean it.”

In less than 48 hours, he stopped at the Humane Society of North Myrtle Beach (S.C.), the Dillon County (S.C.) Animal Shelter, another in Orangeburg, S.C., and Saint Frances Animal Center in Georgetown, S.C., which sang his praises on social media Sunday. In a Facebook post late Sunday, the Saint Frances Animal Center said that Alsup was rescuing all the “leftover” pets — the dogs and cats the shelter couldn’t seem to hand off to anyone else

1 Comment

  1. SOPRAVVIVERE 3 months ago

    I also wanted to add the area”s and names of stores the coupon are missing from.. Area: Fayetteville, ohio The stores: 1. marathon gas: 60 w. Pike st. Fayetteville, ohio 45118 2. Fayetteville 1st. Stop: 51 s. Apple st. Fayetteville, ohio 45118

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