By Karen Morfitt

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4)– Colorado shelters welcome nearly 100 dogs and puppies, as well as 18 cats from Puerto Rico and other areas impacted by Hurricane Maria.

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Duane Adams is the vice president of operations for the Denver Dumb Friends League who helped coordinate the rescue Tuesday night.

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“In Colorado, our pets are family, It’s like no other place I’ve seen,” Adams said.
After nearly 12 hours in the air, the plane carrying those animals landed at Centennial Airport.

“They are going to have to get used to snow, I don’t think they’ve ever seen that,” Adams said.

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For nearly a month, these animals have been living in hurricane-ravaged areas of Puerto Rico.

Marry Anne Mather with the Vieques Humane Society in Puerto Rico, says at the height of the storm their shelter was packed full of animals.

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“We took every single travel kennel we could find; all different sizes, we just put animals in every single one. There were animals under the desk in the front office, in the surgery room, stacked on top of one another… you could barely walk through the aisle,” Mathers said.

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With little resources for families working toward recovering, Mathers says those numbers of relinquished pets have only grown.

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“As many as we are getting out, we are having animals brought in because people are leaving the island and either abandoning their animals, or they just can’t take them with them,” she said.

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The Denver Dumb Friends League and six other shelters from Colorado Springs to Boulder are opening their doors to the animals.

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The shelters are providing each one of the rescued animals with health and behavior assessments, vaccinations and other medical checks before they will be placed for adoption. It will be three or four days before the animals will be ready for adoption.

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Among the shelters taking in the rescued animals are the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak region, Denver Animal Protection, Aurora Animal services, Larimer Humane Society, Boulder Valley Humane Society.

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For those that at the Denver Dumb Friends League, you can visit their website to see which animals are available or call (303) 751-5772 for more information about the pet. Future pet owners are encouraged to come in and visit with the animal to ensure he or she is the right fit for your family.

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Karen Morfitt joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around the Denver metro area. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.