In the wake of Hurricane Sandy and the nor’easter, many people who evacuated their homes without their pets are now anxious to have their animals back in their lives. The Humane Society of the United States and other responding agencies have rescued more than 200 animals in Monmouth and Ocean counties, N.J. The HSUS and volunteers with Red Rover have been caring for the animals at emergency animal shelters. Search and rescue operations continue as calls come into the animal emergency hotlines, but now the response effort shifts to bring pets and their owners back together.
“The bond between people and their companion animals is incredibly powerful, and the pet owners affected by these two devastating storms are desperate to be reunited with their beloved animals,” said Laura Maloney, chief operating officer for The HSUS. “The Humane Society of the United States is happy to provide care for these animals while their owners get back on their feet, but it’s most heartwarming to be able to place these animals back in their owners’ arms.”
More than a dozen animals have already been reunited with their owners, and The HSUS continues to contact owners with the good news that their animals are safe at our shelters.
For example, Kayla Patterson and her 5-year-old daughter, Jazmyn, were evacuated from their Ocean Beach, N.J., home so suddenly, that she had no choice but to leave her cat, Fluffy, behind. Days later, when she realized that she wouldn’t be allowed to return to her home, Kayla began to panic.
“I felt terrible that I had left her behind,” Kayla said. “I’m just so happy that she is safe and healthy, and that we can take her home.”
A fellow evacuee offered to contact The Humane Society of the United States to help rescue Fluffy. The HSUS and other local responding agencies got to work searching for Fluffy, and days later she was discovered safe and sound at an animal shelter in Ocean County, N.J.
“We were transporting animals from that shelter to The Humane Society of the United States’ temporary shelter in Barnegat when one of our responders recognized Kayla’s address on Fluffy’s cage,” said Hetti Brown, Delaware state director for The HSUS, who traveled to New Jersey to assist with our rescue efforts. “We were so excited that we had found Fluffy, because Kayla and Jazmyn were so worried. Reuniting this family was such a heartwarming moment.”
The animal emergency hotlines in New York and New Jersey continue to field calls from displaced pet owners concerned about the safety of their animals. Anyone who left their pet behind should call the hotlines set up to help people with concerns about their animals in the area to file a report, which will be shared with responding agencies and the search and rescue teams.
St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center, Monmouth County SPCA and Animal Welfare Association are assisting with supply distribution, as well as providing residents with support so that they can keep their pets.
Hurricane Sandy Pet Rescue Hotlines:
New York City hotline: 347-573-1561
New Jersey hotline: 1-855-407-HSUS
To watch The HSUS’ video of animal rescues, visit: http://video.humanesociety.org/
For more information and updates on what The Humane Society of the United States is doing in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, please visit, humanesociety.org/animalrescueresponse.
To support The HSUS’ work in this and other disasters, please donate at humanesociety.org, call 866-720-2676 or text ANIMALS to 20222 and donate $10 to support The HSUS' Disaster Relief Fund. Standard messaging and data rates apply.
**B-roll and photos of animal rescues and owner reunions are available for the media.