One Year After Receiving a $1.2 Million Grant from PetSmart Charities, St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center’s WayStation Program Celebrates Saving the Lives of 4,000 Dogs Through Pet Transport Initiative

October 2, 2018

Transporting pets from overpopulated communities and shelters to locations where the demand for adoptable pets outweighs availability has proven to be a best practice in animal welfare
and a necessary approach during natural disasters and emergency relief efforts


Oct. 2, 2018 – Phoenix, Ariz. – In Sept. 2017, PetSmart Charities® made a $1.2 million pet transport grant to St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, NJ.  One year later, the two organizations are celebrating more than 4,000 canine lives that have been saved thanks to the movement of those pets in the most safe, reliable and socially responsible manner possible.

The grant, made payable over two years, supports St. Hubert’s Sister Shelter WayStation Program: an initiative focused on the safe and humane transfer of puppies and dogs from often overburdened shelters in the southern U.S. to St. Hubert’s primary shelter in New Jersey. From there, the animals are dispersed in smaller groups to a network of WayStation destination partners in the northern and eastern parts of the U.S. where the demand for adoptable pets often outweighs the availability. 

During the first year of the PetSmart Charities’ grant funding from Sept. 1, 2017 – Aug. 31, 2018, more than 4,000 puppies and dogs were relocated and later adopted through St. Hubert’s WayStation program, including 1,200 canines left homeless by last year’s devastating hurricane season. The organization is poised to transport even more pets during its second year of grant funding, which began on Sept. 1, 2018.   The WayStation network has also been mobilized to support affected shelters in the wake of Hurricane Florence.  By having the systems in place to move animals under normal conditions, when emergencies strike, animals can quickly be moved out of harm’s way.

“When hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria bore down in rapid succession in 2017, WayStation partners were able to mobilize immediately to meet the emergency need,” says Heather Cammisa, President and CEO, St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center. “Using the existing model with St. Hubert’s acting as the hub, more than a 1,200 pets were quickly and safely evacuated from animal shelters in the storms’ paths to shelters in safer locations where they could be placed up for adoption. We saved a lot of lives, very quickly, and we’re ready to do it again.”

“Many people may not realize that the large-scale practice of transporting pets emerged from the needs made clear in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005,” said David Haworth, DVM, Ph.D. and president of PetSmart Charities. “But whether we’re talking about transporting displaced pets following natural disasters, or simply relocating them to give them a better chance of finding a loving home, pet transport continues to be an important part of reducing pet homelessness and a best practice PetSmart Charities is committed to supporting through grant funding.”

Southern source shelter partners are also benefitting from pet transport initiatives. Not only are southern shelters’ housing space concerns alleviated, but through the WayStation program, the destination shelters give back to the source shelters through financial contributions that support low- or no-cost spay/neuter efforts in source shelter communities to help manage pet overpopulation by reducing the number of unplanned litters in the first place. 

“With our incredible network of source and destination partner shelters, and thanks to generous donors like PetSmart Charities, we’re on a shared, lifesaving mission to help pets in need.  Our hope is that other shelters may see and replicate this model as a solution for pet population disparity by connecting shelters in need and shelters with capacity,” said Cammisa.

For more information on St. Hubert’s, please visit  For more information on PetSmart Charities and how grants are making an impact across the U.S. and Canada, please visit


About St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center

Founded in 1939, St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the humane treatment of animals. Its services to the community include pet adoption and animal rescue, humane education, a pet helpline, pet training, professional education, animal-assisted therapy and pet loss support. St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center has shelters in Madison, North Branch and Ledgewood, NJ, The Behavior Center in Madison, and a PetSmart Charities Everyday Adoption Center at the PetSmart in Mt. Olive. For more information about St. Hubert’s visit or contact the Madison shelter at (973)377-2295, the North Branch shelter at (908) 526-3330, the Ledgewood shelter at (973) 347-5469, or the Everyday Adoption Center at (973) 448-7601, ext. 5 

About PetSmart Charities®
PetSmart Charities, Inc. is committed to finding lifelong, loving homes for all pets by supporting programs and thought leadership that bring people and pets together. Through its in-store adoption program in all PetSmart® stores across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, PetSmart Charities helps to find forever homes and families for more than 500,000 shelter pets each year.  PetSmart Charities also provides grant funding to nonprofits aligned with its mission under four key areas of support: Preventing Pet Homelessness; Helping Shelter Pets Thrive; Supporting the Bond Between People and Pets and Providing Emergency Relief and Disaster Support. Each year, millions of generous PetSmart shoppers help pets in need by donating to PetSmart Charities using the PIN pads at checkout registers inside PetSmart stores.  In turn, PetSmart Charities efficiently uses more than 90 cents of every dollar donated to fulfill its role as the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, granting almost $340 million since its inception in 1994. Independent from PetSmart LLC, PetSmart Charities is a 501(c)(3) organization that has received the Four-Star Rating from Charity Navigator, a third-party organization that reports on the effectiveness, accountability and transparency of nonprofits, for the past 15 years in a row – placing it among the top one percent of charities rated by this organization. To learn more visit

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