Tony Alsup has been identified as the 51-year-old year trucker and good samaritan from Tennessee who drove to North and Carolina to rescue 64 animals — 53 dogs and 11 cats — from potential flooding caused by Hurricane Florence.
Alsup, 51, drove a school bus from his home in Greenville, Tennessee, to several animal shelters in North and South Carolina, eventually rescuing 53 dogs and 11 cats from shelters that were in the path of Hurricane Florence.
Over the course of two days, Alsup stopped at the Humane Society of North Myrtle Beach, the Dillon County Animal Shelter, Saint Frances Animal Center and another shelter in Orangeburg, South Carolina.
According to the Greenville News, Alsup will transport the animals to a shelter in Foley, Alabama.
The Greenville News reports that this is not that first time Alsup has offered aid to animals during a natural disaster, as he rescued shelter animals out of hurricane zones in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico within the past year.
However, Alsup says his habit of hauling shelter dogs in a school bus actually began after a misunderstanding.
via Greenville News:
This was not Alsup’s first rescue. Over the past year, he’s hauled shelter pets out of hurricane zones in Texas and Florida and flown to Puerto Rico to save even more. Rescues like these have become a calling, Alsup said, although they actually began with a misunderstanding.
That was a year ago, as Hurricane Harvey was bearing down on Houston and Alsup saw a plea online for anyone who could help evaluate shelter pets out of the storm’s path. Alsup volunteered to transfer pets in his semi-truck. The shelters assumed he meant he could transfer dozens of dogs, while Alsup meant that he would carry a few in the cab of his truck.
Soon, Alsup had spent $3,200 to buy an old school bus, then drove to Texas to fill it with pets for the first time. He’s been driving into hurricane zones ever since. Sometimes he hauls supplies in. He always hauls dogs out.
While Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm when it made landfall on Friday, September 14, the storm has still devastated communities and killed at least 11 people.
Alsup’s Facebook page is full of updates as he makes an effort to help those in need.