On October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit New York City. Sandy, a Category 3 storm, impacted 24 states and caused widespread damage to homes, public infrastructures and livelihoods. The ASPCA sprung into action in the aftermath of the storm, rescuing displaced pets, and providing around-the-clock care for animals in ASPCA’s Animal Hospital and Adoption Center on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
On the Ground
Immediately following the storm, ASPCA staff and responders were hard at work providing relief to families affected by flooding and power outages. Our responders delivered supplies, crates and food to evacuation centers, where hundreds of animals were housed, in the five boroughs.
In Toms River, New Jersey, at the request of the Ocean County Health Department and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department, the ASPCA dispatched our disaster response team to conduct water and land search-and-rescue for animals affected by the devastating storm that struck Ocean County. The operation was 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.
Emergency Boarding Facility
On November 17, 2012 we established an emergency boarding facility—made possible by a $500,000 grant provided by television personality and animal advocate Rachael Ray—in the Bedford–Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn to provide temporary sheltering for hundreds of animals displaced by Hurricane Sandy.
The ASPCA worked in collaboration with Animal Care & Control of NYC (AC&C), the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals, NYC Veterinary Emergency Response Team (NYCVERT), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Veterinary Response Team (NVRT) on the management of the emergency boarding facility.
As a member of the New York City Office of Emergency Management's Animal Planning Task Force, the ASPCA fielded calls through its Hurricane Sandy pet hotline to assist pet owners and those who were interested in helping animal victims of the storm. Local and national groups including the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals, Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, Wayside Waifs, Louisiana SPCA, Sumter DART and Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation provided responders to assist with the daily care of the animals at the ASPCA emergency boarding facility. Additionally, NYCVERT and NVRT provided veterinary medical support for owned animals sheltered at the facility.
The facility remained open until January 2013, and we were able to reunite hundreds of pets with their guardians. Animals who weren’t claimed after exhaustive efforts to find their families were transferred to either our Adoption Center or our rescue partners for adoption.
Disbursement of Grant Funds
After the storm, the ASPCA worked to ensure that animal shelters in some of the hardest-hit areas have the resources necessary to stay in operation. Through our Emergency Grant Program, the ASPCA provided over 40 grants totaling over $350,000 to organizations responding to, or impacted by, Hurricane Sandy.
To learn more about our disaster response, please visit our Natural Disasters section.