The shelter has room for 35 dogs at any given time, he said, with an average canine population between 20 and 25.
Most of the cats and dogs that find their way to SARL are from Rockingham County, the Merrimack Valley or the North Shore. That’s the rescue league’s priority.
“Our number one priority is always to service our region,” Bettencourt said. “We only accept transports based on the room we have after servicing our area.”
But SARL also partners with humane societies or other rescue groups in Florida, West Virginia, Kentucky, South Carolina and Alabama.
“Most of these out-of-state dogs are taken from high-kill shelters,” Bettencourt said. “Many times the dogs we accept are hours away from being euthanized. We really are in the business of saving lives with these transports.”
Today, that means Blacki, a 3-year-old, black-and-white female Labrador mix, will soon for her forever home. So, too, will Big Guy, Scarlet, Terry and Delilah.
First, all the dogs that arrived yesterday will be given thorough medical exams and treatment for worms, ticks and fleas at SARL. Until they are ready to be put up for adoption, the dogs are separated from the other residents. All dogs ready for new homes should be available Thursday. Visit sarlnh.org for updates.
The dogs were eager to get out on their kennels in the white Ford van they had been riding in since 11 a.m. Wednesday, with regular stops for food and walks.
Volunteers lined up with leashes to meet the new arrivals, most eager to relieve themselves and stretch their legs.
All appeared happy to find themselves in Salem.
“They know they’re in the right place,” Sorokin said.
Elisabeth Shuter, SARL’s transport coordinator, knew they were, too.
She held Linda, the first dog out of the van. It is Shuter who regularly chooses dogs from a sending shelter’s list of animals they are trying to place. In this case, she said, she chose 15 dogs from a list of 30. The choices can be tough.