NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), at the request of the Ocean County Health Department and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department in Toms River, N.J., has dispatched its disaster response team to conduct water and land search-and-rescue for animals affected by the devastating storm that struck Ocean County. The operation is being supported by responders from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Animal Rescue League of Boston, in conjunction with the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Toms River Animal Control.
“Many people have lost their homes due to the storm, and our goal is to alleviate some of the stress for pet owners by reuniting them with their animals,” said Dr. Dick Green, director of Disaster Response for the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team. “The ASPCA is pleased to be in a position to assist Ocean County authorities, and the incredible support and collaboration with the local officials and our response partners has allowed us to respond quickly to animal rescue requests. Our priority is to help reunite as many pet owners as possible with their animals.”
ASPCA responders arrived on the ground late Thursday to work with local officials to assess the situation and establish a system to reunite pet owners with their animals. An eight-person team responded to more than 30 animal rescue requests yesterday, retrieving displaced pets and reuniting them with their owners. Ocean County residents who need to report animal emergencies may call a statewide pet hotline: 1-866-407-4787.
“In the aftermath of this devastating Hurricane, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) was asked to support land and water search and rescue operations for animals in Ocean County,” said Shannon Walajtys, IFAW Manager for Disasters. “We're fortunate to have our PetFinder Foundation funded rescue truck and trailer filled with water rescue boats and equipment, including sheltering supplies, for those animals that were left behind as residents were forced to evacuate at a moment’s notice.”
“We are proud to join in the effort to help rescue animals affected by flooding and other storm-related perils along the New Jersey coastline,” added Brian O’Connor, manager of Rescue Services at the Animal Rescue League of Boston. “We can ensure that animals are safe and well cared for while the people of Ocean County focus on the rebuilding of their lives and communities.”
The ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team frequently responds to natural disasters, including other major events like Hurricane Irene, and the Joplin, Mo. tornado in 2011, Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008 and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, in addition to being called upon by state and municipal governments and other animal welfare partners to lend expertise during large-scale animal rescue operations.
Please click on the links below for photos and video of emergency animal rescue responses:
Video - https://www.dropbox.com/sh/7fvvsa6qygnykk3/TyScNWv0J9
Photos - http://www.yousendit.com/download/WUJic0x6Q0NVVG1Ga2NUQw