I wish I could personally thank each of you for everything you have done so far to help animals affected by Hurricane Irene. To each of you who has welcomed an animal evacuee into your home, who has dropped off pet supplies at an evacuation center, who has spread the word directly or through Facebook or Twitter about protecting pets during the storm, who has volunteered, or who has simply kept the East Coast in your thoughts and prayers during this scary time, I thank you.
While the ASPCA is a national organization, we are headquartered in New York City. Many of our employees have had to evacuate their own homes, but still insist on working on our disaster response efforts. We have staff, volunteers and disaster relief experts from around the country working all night in several locations in New York and ready to deploy to the hardest hit areas as soon as Irene arrives.
Throughout Saturday, ASPCA responders visited evacuation centers across New York City to ensure those centers were equipped to care for pets accompanying their human evacuees.
We are coordinating the disaster response efforts for animals with federal, state, and local officials as well as with other animal interest organizations.
The ASPCA’s Field Investigations & Response Team is called on to assist the animal victims of disasters and cruelty around the country. For example, in 2010, this group engaged in 27 full-scale deployments and more than 120 investigations and consultations to help animals in danger. Despite this breadth of experience, a historic hurricane in New York City will present challenges not seen in other disasters.
Rest assured that the ASPCA is prepared to act fast to aid the animals affected by Irene the best we can. We have a rescue boat and several massive tractor trailers full of supplies ready and waiting to go to the hardest hit areas. None of us knows what Irene’s aftermath will bring, but I can assure you that we will do everything we can to save the lives of animals endangered by this storm.