Sandy hit the Rockaways hard, and the ASPCA is responding in that area in three ways: We’re distributing pet supplies at several key points, providing veterinary care to residents, and rescuing animals who were left behind as the storm bore down on this seaside community.
One call our rescue team received informed us that the Rivera family in the Rockaways had been forced to leave their dog and three cats behind when they evacuated to a shelter on Tuesday.
Leann and Manny Rivera had been at home with their seven children when Sandy hit, and it was only a matter of minutes before their home was flooded with 15 or 16 feet of water.
Their landlord told them to break down the door on the empty third-floor apartment in their two-family house, so all nine people and four pets huddled in one room there until the water was low enough that they could swim out.
The Riveras didn’t know they could bring pets to the shelter, and they also had no way to get them through the water. They left their pets in the house with four days’ worth of food and water and trudged through their flooded street to a police station, where they were sent to a shelter. Staff there told them the ASPCA could help them get their animals back, and we did.
We found the cats hiding in various places around the house and the little dog, terrified, barking on the couch. We placed the cats in carriers and wrapped the dog in a blanket and took them to safety.
When we pulled in to the evacuation center where the Riveras were staying, Leann ran next to our truck as it pulled in. She couldn’t wait to see her “other children.” As we opened the van door, Leann’s little dog nearly exploded with glee to see his mom again, and Leann returned the enthusiasm. The animals are now with the Riveras at the shelter, where Leann reports her children are overjoyed to see their pets again.
Field rescues of animals trapped in homes continues today in the Rockaways and elsewhere.