Safe Havens for Displaced Pets after Hurricane Irene

By on August 31, 2011 with 0 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

With flooding and power outages still plaguing large parts of the East, we are helping animals and the people who care about them. In Pamlico County, N.C., our Animal Rescue Team members have been working with local animal control to prioritize the most urgent animal needs in the county and to respond to calls from families concerned about their pets left behind. One 5-year-old girl we met was holding her cat, Flower, and she and her family were very happy to have us take care of their pets at our shelter while they try to find somewhere to live. The community has been enormously grateful for our assistance.

If you’d like to help, you can donate on our website or text LOVE to 20222 to donate $10 to support our Disaster Relief Fund as we work to help pets affected by Hurricane Irene. You can also watch our latest video here and read the latest news about our ongoing response.

At our emergency pet shelter at the Craven County, N.C., fairgrounds, we’re caring for several dozen dogs, cats, and other pets, in addition to pit bulls we helped rescue from two dogfighting operations earlier this month. The horse we found wandering on a roadway is now safe at our shelter, as well as 11 hound dogs we found in an outdoor pen in dire need of food and water. PetSmart Charities will be sending supplies and staff, which will help us increase our shelter capacity, and dedicated volunteers from Hello Bully and our National Disaster Animal Response Team are also on the scene.

Horse helped by The HSUS after Hurricane Irene
Michelle Riley/The HSUS
Helping a horse after the storm.

Meanwhile in Vermont, The HSUS is working with municipal, Red Cross, and National Guard officials in Wilmington and joining with the Vermont Companion Animal Neutering Clinic to offer assistance to people who had to evacuate because of historic flooding in the state. We have an emergency shelter set up near Brattleboro, Vt., where we’re caring for more than 50 dogs we recently rescued from a puppy mill as well as sheltering animals displaced by the hurricane. So far the shelter has taken in several cats from families who had nowhere to go with their pets, and we continue to be available to take in additional animals.

With the support of the Vermont Companion Animal Neutering Clinic, we are offering pet food and supplies to evacuated families impacted by the flooding, and we have offered to do search and rescue for animals with the National Guard. In Wilmington, which suffered devastating flooding, we plan to set humane traps for cats who are displaced and in need of care.

HSUS state directors along the East Coast have been in touch with local shelters and government agencies to assess the storm’s effect on animals. We’re a member of the New York City Office of Emergency Management Animal Planning Task Force, and our state director served shifts at the operations center and assisted with pet-related issues. Throughout the height of the storm and its aftermath, we’ve been sharing the latest information about pet-friendly evacuation shelters on Twitter, getting the message out about protecting pets, and helping evacuation shelters and animal shelters get the supplies they need—from bowls to crates and bedding to power generators.

When we received a tip on Twitter that a mother dog and her puppies in Virginia were outside in the storm, we quickly alerted local police, who made sure the dogs were brought inside to safety. Our staff will continue to help animals in need as communities begin to recover, thanks to our supporters who make this work possible.

Animal Rescue and Care, Companion Animals

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