Dozens of cats and dogs are at risk of not being rescued next week after a deer collided with a Morton Grove animal shelter’s rescue van Thursday morning, leaving the van inoperable.
A Wright-Way Rescue driver was on the way to pick up some uwanted pets near downstate Nashville when a deer darted in front of the van just after 6 a.m.
Without time to react, the driver struck the deer, causing significant damage to the van and all three of its airbags to be deployed.
No animals were inside the vehicle, and it wasn’t clear how the deer fared after the collision. The driver was “shaken but okay,” a Wright-Way Rescue statement read.
The van is now unusable, with officials in the organization fearing it will need to be replaced.
But the group had already arranged to make the several-hundred mile trip to Mississippi and Louisiana next week to rescue about 90 cats and dogs.
“Many of these animals will lose their lives, and a chance at adoption, if we cannot reach them,” Wright-Way Rescue said. “Our rescue vehicle is truly the backbone of our work in rural America, traveling thousands of miles each week to reach animals in dire need of being rescued in time.”
The van was used Wednesday on a trip to save around 65 animals in Arkansas and Missouri, the group said.
Because securing a replacement van is a “significant financial undertaking,” the nonprofit is accepting donations so it can “continue saving dogs and cats who need our help the most.”
The van mishap wasn’t the organization’s first setback.
In 2013, a school bus crashed into the Wright-Way Rescue in Niles, destroying the front of the building and leaving the organization without a location for almost a year.
Founded in 2003, Wright-Way Rescue aims to reduce the number of homeless pets euthanized in the Midwest through adoptions, education and a veterinary medicine program. Its focus is largely in rural areas.