Hurricane Florence was no match for Unleashed Pet Rescue as they drove 17 hours to rescue 71 dogs.

When Danielle Reno, CEO and owner of Unleashed Pet Rescue, began rescuing dogs in her garage in 2011, she knew she had found her calling. At that time, she was fostering multiple dogs and saw the need for another rescue team in the area. She decided to lease the space in Mission to further her dream of saving as many dogs and cats as possible.

Since that time, the Unleashed Pet Rescue group has adopted more than 23,000 animals. Reno named her rescue Unleashed because animals are unleashed from their previous life to live a new wonderful life. 

Recently, as they watched the tragic events unfolding during Hurricane Florence, they knew something had to be done.

Rebecca Taylor, social media and public relations director for Unleashed, says, “We saw the high flood waters and realized there would be a need for rescue. On Saturday, September 15, three of our employees and our CEO, Danielle, headed towards the Carolinas. There wasn’t an exact plan, but a Facebook page had been formed because of Hurricane Florence, with the rescue community reaching out about what shelters needed help. While they drove, a few of our employees connected with shelters in the Carolinas. This rescue involved five shelters and three transport groups.”

Taylor says that the damage was devastating: “So many people had literally lost everything. It was very dangerous traveling through the flood waters, and we had people helping along the way. A group called the Louisiana Cajun Navy would test out the levels of the waters before our group drove through them. It was a huge team effort. Clearing out these shelters with dogs that were waiting prior to the hurricane allowed displaced pets to come to the shelters and hopefully be reunited with their families.”

They freed up space in their own shelter, and the response has been overwhelming with people adopting dogs daily. So far, 21 of the 71 rescued have found forever homes. Currently at the shelter, they have approximately 80 dogs and puppies and 20-30 cats and kittens, along with hundreds of animals in foster care.

Unleashed holds different events every single week and recently held their Annual Weiner Dog Derby, which is very popular. They also have an Outreach program in Kansas City, KS where they provide spay/neuter services, dog houses, taking dogs off chains and putting them on tie-outs, offering appointments for vaccinations, dog food, etc. They have a TNR (trap, neuter and return) program for cats.

Unleashed is a licensed, no-kill, non-profit animal shelter that never says no. They are always in need of donations because it takes approximately $90,000 a month to keep the shelter running. They work to save the lives of homeless pets while striving to improve the image of bully breeds in society. They work daily with local high-kill shelters throughout the area to pull “unwanted” pets to safety, and they find homes for pets of all ages, health, temperaments and history.  Each adoptable pet is given the opportunity to thrive.

They are proud to have created an organization that is no-kill and will not euthanize any animal due to overcrowding. As with most other shelters throughout the nation, there is never enough space to fill the need. Because of this they have partnered with foster homes throughout Kansas City that help provide a safe, comfortable situation for pets until they can find their “furever” homes.

They thrive because of their incredibly compassionate staff, as well as the generous support of donations and marvelous volunteers. When a pet comes into their care, they know that they will be shown love and attention while they wait for their forever family.

Thousands of animals come through their doors yearly, and Unleashed receives no state or federal funding, relying entirely upon donations to cover daily operating expenses. Every day this team works hard to provide a safe environment for animals throughout Kansas City.

“We also like to think we help people because they love their animals,” Taylor says. “We don’t just limit rescue to Kansas City — we know there are animals all over that need help. We have a great staff, amazingly dedicated volunteers and fosters, and a growing program. We are very excited for the future!”

Visit www.facebook.com/pg/UnleashedPetRescue/events and unleashed.com to learn about events and ways to volunteer, donate and help. Unleashed Pet Rescue is located at 5918 Broadmoor, Mission, Kansas 66202.