As more Sandy victims are able to move out of New York evacuation shelters, the city is consolidating its housing for families displaced by the storm. That means people—and their pets—must relocate.
An evacuation shelter in Queens was closed this weekend, and its remaining residents and their 51 animals needed to head to another shelter in the Bronx. When the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC requested our help moving these animals, we jumped at the chance.
On Saturday, our responders helped move cats, dogs, birds, turtles (named Ike and Tina) and puppies to their new temporary home in the Bronx.
Keeping families together is what the ASPCA’s response to Sandy is all about, and we are thrilled to have been able to help people stay with their pets at a time when some have lost everything else.
One man at the evacuation shelter told us Sandy had destroyed his home and belongings, but that he still felt blessed because he had his two dogs with him.
“Everything else can be replaced, but I can’t replace my dogs,” he said.
Our response to Sandy is ongoing as affected communities remain devastated. For updates on our work, please check the ASPCA blog and follow the ASPCA on Twitter.
For the thousands of families without power, running water or even homes a week and a half after Superstorm Sandy, the ASPCA can’t unload our pet supply trucks fast enough. Everywhere our trucks stop, we are met by a crowd of needy pet parents who eagerly snap up the supplies before we can pull away to the next distribution point.
Pets are all many families have left, and they are eager to take good care of them in spite of all they’ve lost. To date, we have distributed thousands of pounds of pet food and cat litter to areas of extreme need, and we are ramping up this effort and fielding more requests every day.
If you live far from the affected area, please don’t look away from this catastrophe now. Animals and their pet parents need our help desperately, and we’re working around the clock to meet their needs. To date, we have helped nearly 6,000 animals, and we don’t expect this operation to wind down any time soon.
If you would like to contribute to our disaster relief fund, you can make a gift here. Every cent will go to ASPCA disaster relief efforts.
Of all the areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy, Rockaway Beach, Queens, underwent some of the most heartbreaking destruction. For one family in that area, this meant their first-floor apartment flooded to such a great extent that they could no longer open their front door. Luckily, the family is safe, and they managed to rescue their 11-month-old dog Hazel from the floodwaters just in time.
Unfortunately, Hazel’s pet parent, Eddy, has been staying in temporary housing that does not accommodate animals, and he was nearly forced to surrender her to a shelter. That’s when Geoff, a longtime ASPCA photographer and owner of Tischman Pets Photography, stepped in to help. After meeting Hazel and Eddy while on assignment at an evacuation center in Jamaica, Queens, and hearing their story, Geoff volunteered to look after Hazel for as long as necessary.
Despite going through a terrifying time, Hazel is thriving. She has made friends with Geoff’s dog, Baxter, and the two are enjoying playing and taking walks together. When Hazel sleeps in her crate, Baxter sleeps next to her on the rug. We’re so glad that Hazel is safe and sound in her temporary home.
Animal cruelty can happen anywhere. From hoarding to neglect, animals are placed in dangerous situations every single day. It’s an upsetting fact, but you can help prevent and stop animal cruelty from happening in your neighborhood.
Here are some steps you can take to be an advocate for animals:
Learn how to recognize signs of animal cruelty. There are often warning signs that are indicators that animals are being treated inhumanely. Some are more apparent than others, but by studying this list, you’ll know what to look out for.
Know who to call. Find out who is responsible for investigating and enforcing the anti-cruelty codes in your town, county or state. This might include your local humane organization, animal control agency, taxpayer-funded animal shelter or police precinct.
Provide a detailed report. When reporting animal cruelty, it is best to give a concise statement about what you’ve witnessed or suspect. Include photos if at all possible. Don’t forget to include dates, times, and as many details as you can in your report. Keep copies for your own records and take notes!
Follow up. If you don't receive a response from the officer assigned to your case within a reasonable length of time, don't be afraid to contact his supervisor and, if necessary, local government officials.
The Cruelty Intervention Advocacy (CIA) program works in conjunction with Humane Law Enforcement to intervene in cases involving animals that are not victims of cruelty but may be at risk of becoming victims without intervention. To date, CIA has intervened in over 80 animal hoarding cases in New York City’s five boroughs. CIA’s Colleen Doherty told us about her work during Sandy.
When Hurricane Sandy hit NYC, I knew I had to get out to cases in impacted areas as quickly as possible to check on the condition of the animals. I responded to 11 cases in two days with a Humane Law Enforcement Agent and veterinarian, providing wellness checks to animals and critical supplies such as pet food and litter.
One case in particular in Coney Island, an area heavily impacted by Sandy, involves a family with 50 cats. Just before Sandy hit, the CIA team was coordinating a rescue operation to remove these cats and place them for adoption as soon as they were rehabilitated. Sandy interrupted this effort, and after the storm, I was not able to get in touch with the family because the cell service and power was out. I headed there right away to check on them.
Luckily they didn’t sustain major flooding. They were in need of some supplies as lots of local stores were closed or flooded, so we provided them with all the essentials.
It is an unbelievable feeling to be a lifeline to so many animals in my community. Being able to have a hands-on approach, seeing the condition of animals, pet parents and homes, and to see a case to completion, is an amazing privilege that I feel very lucky to have.