Truck driver uses school bus to rescue dozens of animals from Florence flooding

A truck driver from Tennessee rescued more than 60 shelter animals in the path of Hurricane Florence using an old school bus, the Greenville News reported Sunday.

Tony Alsup, 51, headed to the Atlantic coast from Greenback, Tenn., and began filling his bus with animals, according to the local paper, which added that he purchased the bus for $3,200 and ripped the seats out to make room for cages and crates. 

The words “EMERGENCY ANIMAL RESCUE SHELTER” are on the side of his bus. 

Alsup reportedly loaded 53 dogs and 11 cats onto his bus and brought them to an awaiting shelter far from the storm, where they will be pampered. 

His friend, Angela Eib-Maddux, will open her privately run dog shelter in Foley, Ala., for the occupants on Alsup’s bus, The Washington Post reported.

She will bathe them and give them a “spa treatment” until they can be sent to shelters or foster homes for adoption, it added. 

He told the newspaper that the animals’ lives were as important to save as human lives.

“Animals  — especially shelter pets — they always have to take the back seat of the bus,” Alsup said. “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.”

He headed to Texas and Florida with his bus-turned-animal shelter during last year’s devastating hurricanes to rescue animals, and even flew to Puerto Rico to help save more.

“I love it,” Alsup said. “People don’t believe me, they say it’s got to be barking crazy. But no. They know I’m the alpha dog and I’m not here to hurt them.”

Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane near Wrightsville Beach, N.C., shortly after 7 a.m. on Friday, bringing massive amounts of rain and severe flooding to the Carolinas.

Shelters began overflowing last week as the storm approached and locals were asked to help house the animals.

Hundreds of South Carolina and North Carolina residents volunteered to shelter homeless animals as Florence hit the coastline.

Saving Grace, an animal shelter in Wake Forest, N.C., said more than 120 dogs are now in the care of community members.

Tags Animal rescue Animal shelters Hurricane Florence North Carolina North Carolina South Carolina South Carolina

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