Hundreds of Hurricane Sandy Pets Remain Homeless and Lostthe daily dish
At this time last year, the East Coast was facing Hurricane Sandy, which was downgraded to a superstorm just before landfall. Countless people lost their homes and belongings. But humans were not the only victims. An overwhelming number of pets were lost or abandoned during the chaos. While the rebuilding efforts after Sandy are remarkable, there is still work to be done, including finding a permanent place for the hundreds of displaced Sandy animals.
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The number of Sandy pets still in need is staggering, in part because of how people reacted when the storm hit. According to NBC News, many animal owners left their pets to fend for themselves, while others who lost their homes made sure their animals ended up in shelters.
Following the storm, animal groups and pet lovers did what they could to help the growing number of displaced cats and dogs. Some residents, like Trish Lane of New Hampshire, started pages on social networks for lost-and-found pets. Lane is still diligently updating her Hurricane Sandy Lost and Found Pets Facebook page today.
The ASCPA went into action immediately after the storm, providing supplies and assistance to New Jersey and New York. Thanks to its efforts, the group reunited hundreds of animals with their owners and found many others new homes. ASPCA spokeswoman Emily Schneider says that the group's shelters have only one Sandy animal left in their care that is still awaiting adoption.
Other shelters across the country are not as fortunate and are still holding onto displaced pets, hoping to find them new homes or their original owners. Thanks to Lane's Facebook page, New Jersey resident Caitlin Stewart was reunited with her cat Bird more than two months after the storm hit. Stewart found Bird by following up on a number of tips she found on Lane's page, until one finally led her to the cat, who was staying at a house 3 miles away.
Animal Care and Control of New York City is working to spread the word on proper identification, so pet owners are prepared the next time a natural disaster hits. One of the biggest hurtles for rescuers trying to reunite pets with their owners is poor identification. It is important to have you pet micro-chipped and collared, even if they spend most of their time indoors. These steps make reunion infinitely easier and faster for animal rescuers.
It is also vital that pet owners know their rights during an emergency situation. State and local governments are required to include pets in their emergency procedures. This means that animals are allowed in human shelters, taxis and public transportation during natural disasters.
While the fact that hundreds of pets are still looking for homes a year after Sandy may seem bleak, the efforts that citizens and animal groups continue to put in to help these animals in a silver lining that shows the kindness of the human spirit.
"Honestly, as much bad as you see in the world, people not coming back for their pets, there's a hundred times more good than there is bad," Stewart told NBC News regarding Lane's Facebook page. "It's a year later and (the Facebook page) hasn't lost any of its steam."
PETS RESCUED DURING HURRICANE SANDY: