On the ground during a previous rescue effort in Joplin, Missouri, in 2011.
As details about the impact and devastation of the tornado that struck Moore, Oklahoma, continue to emerge, the ASPCA stands ready to assist. We remain in contact with local authorities and are prepared to provide our disaster recovery expertise and support once requested. Like all of you, we grieve with those who have lost loved ones and hope for a speedy recovery.
For those of us on the East Coast, the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012 is still present and fresh on our minds. And most recently, persistent flooding in the Midwest has wreaked havoc on the lives of humans and pets alike. It’s important for pet parents in all parts of the country to be prepared to act in the face of a disaster—and that includes having an emergency plan in place for your pets.
That’s one of the reasons why we joined FEMA to recognize May 8 as National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day. We hope you’ll take this opportunity to learn more about the ways you can keep your furry friends safe in an emergency. Here are a few easy steps you can take:
1. Have a Plan. Your “all-family” plan needs to include how you will transport your animals in an evacuation, possible routes you will take and your destination/sheltering options. Practice that plan at least yearly and share it with your family and friends.
2. Build a Kit. Don’t forget a photo of your pet, medical records, vaccination records, and any special food or prescriptions.
3. Stay Informed. Keep an eye on the weather, follow a projected storm’s path and don’t get caught unprepared. Staying informed also means knowing which shelters house both people and pets, monitoring possible road closures and having alternate travel plans.
4. Know Your Neighbors. It’s best to form a relationship with your neighbors well in advance of a disaster situation.Develop a telephone tree and determine who is home and when. If a disaster occurs while you’re at work, your neighbor may be the only one who can reach your pets.
5. Vaccinate and Microchip. If you’re ever required to shelter your pets, you’ll want them protected against disease. And the single most important piece of advice we can offer is to microchip your pets. It is truly their ticket home.
Though Hurricane Sandy seems like a long time ago to many of us, many of those who lost everything to the storm are still just beginning to piece their lives back together. At the ASPCA, we’re still working with animal welfare groups and individuals who suffered as a result of Sandy, and less than a month has passed since our special facility for Sandy pets closed.
Since then , we’ve seen many Sandy strays find new homes and hundreds of Sandy pets reunited with their families. (To see some of those, visit our Facebook album of reunion photos.)
If we could tell you all their stories, we could, because if you give to the ASPCA you’re responsible in part for each one. For now, we’d like to tell you one—Magnus and Aheber’s. Please watch their video to see how you helped them.
Thank you for giving to the ASPCA and helping us help animals like Magnus. If you’re not already a member, please consider making a gift now. You’ll help us be prepared to go wherever animals need us, whenever they need us.
We want to thank Rachael Ray for her generous gift that allowed us to launch the facility, and to thank the many animal welfare organizations from near and far who helped us run this operation.
We also want to take a moment to thank all of our supporters. Without you, we couldn’t have helped any of the families whose pets we boarded after Sandy—nor could we have helped the thousands of others who benefited from our other Sandy relief programs like search-and-rescue and food distribution.
We invite you to watch this video and remember that our work is sponsored by your generosity and kindness!
Tonight, hundreds of animals who were once boarded with us are now sleeping near their loved ones once again.
Our boarding facility also housed stray animals found in disaster areas in the wake of Sandy. Those who weren’t claimed after exhaustive efforts to find their families are getting happy endings, too: All were transferred to either our Adoption Center or our rescue partners for adoption, and some have already found loving homes.
From the bottom of our hearts: Thank you, ASPCA supporters! We’re committed to staying ready to respond to any natural disaster at a moment’s notice, and we’re so glad you’re in our corner.
We were thrilled to take part in 129 happy reunions last Saturday as families displaced by Hurricane Sandy came to pick up their pets from our Emergency Boarding Facility (EBF) in Brooklyn. The boarding facility has been open since November, and the effort is now coming to a close. We put out calls for pet parents to come and take their pets home.
The Goldstein family of South Freeport, Long Island, traveled to Brooklyn on Saturday to pick up their 3-year-old beagle, Captain Morgan, who had been under our care at the Emergency Boarding Facility for seven weeks. Captain Morgan’s furry friend, Skylar, the Goldstein’s cat, waited for Captain Morgan in the car so they could all go home together.
Jordyn Clarke of Rockaway Beach was reunited with her cat, Kary, a tortoiseshell mix, and Midnight, a pit bull mix, on Saturday. Jordyn’s bungalow on the beach was destroyed, and she has found new housing in Brooklyn. Midnight is being fostered for a few days by a friend until Jordyn is settled in. Midnight’s third birthday is next week, and it will be especially nice for her to be at home.
Thomas Young of Far Rockaway and his son picked up their remaining two dogs at the EBF on Saturday. They had already brought home their Shih Tzu, Prince, who, upon returning home, “went right into his kennel!” Brindle, a pit bull mix, and Venom, a mastiff, were thrilled to see each other and tumbled into the car with Young’s son. “These are our kids,” says Young, whose family is staying in a hotel and working to rebuild their home.
Cuddles, a young female tabby, was reunited with Shondelle Dodson, who was displaced from her home in Canarsie after Hurricane Sandy. She adopted Cuddles from the ASPCA Adoption Center in Manhattan in 2012.
If you or someone you know is missing a pet post-Sandy, please urge them to visit the ASPCA emergency boarding facility at 1508 Herkimer St. in Brooklyn as soon as possible. Pet parents who wish to reclaim their pets from the boarding facility should call the Hurricane Sandy Pet Hotline at (347) 573-1561.
Photos: [top] Midnight and Jordyn Clarke reunited at the EBF on January 5. [bottom] Shondelle Dodson and Cuddles together again in Brooklyn, NY.