ASPCA Helps Florida SARC Rescue Animals Impacted by Hurricane Michael

ASPCA disaster response team assists with search-and-rescue, emergency sheltering of displaced animals in Bay County
October 18, 2018

NEW YORK—At the request of the Florida State Animal Response Coalition (Florida SARC), the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) deployed a team of professional responders to Bay County, Fla., to rescue and care for animals impacted by Hurricane Michael. The ASPCA is currently assisting with search-and-rescue efforts and will be supporting the Florida SARC’s emergency shelter for animals displaced by the Category 4 hurricane.

“Hurricane Michael had a catastrophic impact on the Panhandle of Florida, destroying most everything in its path and putting hundreds of thousands of people and pets in danger,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President and CEO. “The ASPCA is proud to work with the Florida State Animal Response Coalition and local agencies to save as many animal lives as possible, and are committed to helping these communities and agencies recover from the hurricane and its aftermath.”

Individuals looking to report missing or stranded pets should contact the Hurricane Michael pet hotline at 1-800-738-9437 (7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET).

The following groups are supporting the ASPCA’s disaster response efforts: Louisiana State Animal Response Team, La.; First Coast No More Homeless Pets, Fla.; Oregon Humane Society, Ore.; and San Diego Humane Society, Calif.

The ASPCA is also a part of the Animal Disaster Response Coalition, a collective of animal welfare groups across the U.S. established to enable organizations to focus their efforts on helping animals in crisis by mitigating funding challenges. The Coalition has made grants available to local nonprofits and government agencies who are assisting animals and pet owners impacted by Hurricanes Michael and Florence.

Last year alone, the ASPCA responded to six disasters including Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and the California wildfires, assisting more than 37,000 animals through pre-evacuation, field rescue, and post-disaster relief efforts. The ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team deploys nationwide to assist in large-scale cruelty cases and disaster response operations. In addition, the team works closely with local agencies across the country to help enhance their animal response capabilities through grants and training opportunities.

The ASPCA recently produced a 360-degree video that puts viewers on the ground of an actual ASPCA disaster response operation in St. Croix in the wake of Hurricane Maria last year. To view the 360-degree video and to learn more about the ASPCA’s disaster response efforts, visit aspca.org/disasters.