How 80 animal charities fared & responded to Superstorm Sandy
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2012:
How 80 animal charities fared & responded to Superstorm Sandy
Adopt-A-Dog, of Armonk, New York and Greenwich, Connecticut, was profiled by Helen Neachey of Greenwich Time for helping to rescue three feral cats and a late-born litter of kittens after Sandy hit.
All About Spay/Neuter, of Far Rockaway, Queens, after sterilizing more than 6,400 cats in eight years for local neuter/return programs, in April 2012 received a PetSmart Charities grant of $40,000 to help increase the pace over the next two years. Just six months later Sandy hit. “AASN’s home, which is also my home, was flooded and everything inside was destroyed,” director Joanne B. Monez e-mailed on November 4, 2012. “We took in 27 inches of water and also lost one of our precious rescue cats, Cleo.” Updated Monez on November 24, “We are rebuilding, but have secured a new permanent adoption center for our cats and kittens on Broadway in Massapequa.”
Alley Cat Allies has since 2000 assisted the Atlantic City Boardwalk Cats Project, in cooperation with local businesses and the city government. Cats were seen retreating inland ahead of Sandy. “More than half of the colony has already returned,” Alley Cat Allies president and co-founder Becky Robinson e-mailed to supporters on November 1, 2012. An Alley Cat Allies disaster response team helped to rebuild the cats’ feeding stations and weather shelters.
American Humane Association–The AHA distributed 50 tons of emergency supplies donated by Mars Petcare, Royal Canin, Pfizer Animal Health, and Cat’s Pride to animal shelters in Bergen County and Atlantic County, New Jersey.
American SPCA--ASPCA personnel handled about 400 animals in the first days after Sandy, said spokesperson Emily Schneider. A mobile clinic treated about 250 animals in the Rockaway areas of Queens and on Staten Island. The ASPCA temporarily housed about 150 animals for displaced persons. The ASPCA also provided emergency supplies to about 16,000 animals in New York City and on Long Island, working in partnership with other agencies, Schneider said. Many other charities’ animal rescue work was partially funded by the ASPCA. Despite the disruption, the ASPCA annual humane awards luncheon was hosted as originally scheduled on November 8, 2012. Short-term city-operated emergency shelters for displaced persons and their pets began closing two weeks after Sandy, increasing the need for temporary animal housing. Funded by $500,000 from television personality Rachael Ray, the ASPCA on November 17, 2012 established a boarding facility in the Bedford-Stuyvesant district of Brooklyn to house several hundred animals for up to 30 days.
American Veterinary Medical Association–The AVMA sent four veterinarians to Tri-State Bird Rescue in Delaware to help clean and treat birds who were caught in oil spilled along the New Jersey coast, and pledged to make grants to assist damaged veterinary clinics in the affected areas.
Anarchy Animal Rescue, of Staten Island, operated an active post-Sandy rescue Facebook page.
Animal Care & Control of New York City lost electricity at the AC&C main shelter in Manhattan and at the Staten Island satellite shelter. The animals from the Staten Island shelter were reportedly evacuated to the AC&C Manhattan and Brooklyn shelters, while animals already in those shelters when Sandy hit were parceled out among shelters in the New York City suburbs. AC&C pledged to allow extended holding time for animals recovered from the disaster area, without reducing holding time for other animals. Working from a separate office that regained electricity relatively early, the organizers of the annual AC&C Animal Care Affair Luncheon drew misdirected critical comment by distributing an announcement that the luncheon was postponed before online animal rescue services, provided from headquarters, were back up and running. Because the animal tracking system was inaccessible, there was no way for computers at other sites to publish the usual lists of animals received and animals available for transfer. More than two weeks after Sandy hit, AC&C rescue teams were still bringing in animals who were found at large in devastated neighborhoods, including a cat named Miracle who was apparently swept down a vent or a drain and was retrieved from a manhole by AC&C field officer Alina Matskevich.
Animal Haven, an adoption shelter operating in the SoHo district of Lower Manhattan since 1967, relocated all animals on the premises upstairs before Sandy hit, but lost some supplies and equipment, and was without electricity from October 29, 2012 until November 5.
ANIMAL PEOPLE–Web director Patrice Greanville, of Brewster, New York, worked around recurring electrical outages throughout November 2012.
Animal Protection League of New Jersey mobilized volunteers to distribute pet supplies and search for lost pets.
Animal Rescue League of Boston sent rescue technicians Mark Vogel and Bill Tanguay to help recover pets from evacuated homes in Seaside and Toms River, New Jersey.
Asheville Humane Society–Asheville, North Carolina, was safely outside the path of Sandy, but “When our staff learned of the plight of Bobbi & The Strays,” one of the hardest-hit New York City shelters, “we knew that we had to do something,” e-mailed AHS president Katherine M. Shenar to supporters. Asheville Humane Society staff and volunteers took up a collection for Bobbi & The Strays among themselves, and appealed to AHS donors to add to it.
Associated Humane Societies of New Jersey, operating shelters in Newark, Forked River, and Tinton Falls, and the Popcorn Park Zoo sanctuary, “were out the door and into the streets before the hurricane, during the hurricane and after the hurricane to help people with their pets and pick up strays off the streets,” e-mailed president Roseann Trezza. “After the storm,” Trezza added, “a turf war seems to have begun among some national organizations, creating confusion with local animal groups,” who were already in the field when competing national organizations’ disaster relief teams arrived. Two months after Associated Humane suspended providing emergency animal control service to Monmouth County, following 10 months of unsuccessfully seeking an increase in the monthly payment for being on call, Sandy hit Monmouth County especially hard. “We only suspended services to county roads, county parks, etc. which the county was supposed to pay for,” Trezza said. “AHS still serves the municipalities with which we have contracts, and still does humanitarian rescues.”
Bergen County Animal Shelter–Located in Teterboro, New Jersey, a borough with 45 human inhabitants and a regional airport, the Bergen County Animal Shelter reopened to do adoptions on November 6, 2012, after a week without electricity. Three hundred cats and sixty dogs at the shelter survived the crisis, and “received additional company, including seven dogs temporarily surrendered by people displaced by the storm,” plus “a pair of Chinese crested chickens,” who were found outside a Home Depot,” reported Bergen Record staff writer Jay Levin.
Best Friends Animal Society–Best Friends reported making nearly $50,000 in grants to 14 animal charities in the disaster area, including Animal Anarchy, the Animal Protection League, Husky House, the Liberty Humane Society, the Little Guild of St. Francis, the Little Shelter, Road Runner Rescue, and Staten Island Feral Cat Rescue.
BideAWee evacuated all dogs from the 109-year-old BideAWee headquarters on Murray Hill in Manhattan to branch shelters in Westhampton and Wantagh, Long Island. About 70 cats at the shelter were moved from the basement to the upper floors of the five-story BideAWee building. “Two staff members agreed to stay through the storm to watch over the shelter. Hundreds of dollars in supplies were amassed to keep the workers and animals comfortable, and a generator on the roof of the building was stocked with enough fuel to keep the facility powered for three days,” recounted DNAInfo.com reporter/producer Mary Johnson. But after three days, the generator fuel ran out, more fuel was unavailable, and the elevator shaft filled with five feet of water. A washer and dryer in the BideAWee basement were ruined, along with stored pet food, cat litter, staff uniforms, and miscellaneous supplies. The 70 cats were moved to the Westhampton and Wantagh shelters, but those shelters were also without electricity. The Westhampton shelter reopened on October 31, but the Manhattan and Wantagh shelters remained closed for repairs. “Staff members are able to continue caring for more than 100 animals at the Wantagh facility, thanks to a rented commercial generator that costs BideAWee some $6,500 a week, plus $600 a day in diesel fuel,” Johnson wrote. “The Wantagh shelter has also taken in some pets from a shelter in nearby Hempstead,” she added, bringing the total shelter animal population to more than 200.
Bobbi & The Strays, operating an adoption center in Queens and a shelter for special needs animals at Freeport, Long Island, evacuated both facilities ahead of Sandy. More than 100 of the 300 dogs and cats were housed temporarily at a vacant private home that was up for sale. Many of the rest were accommodated by the North Shore Animal League. Though the animals all survived, “Their Freeport location is in ruins,” reported Asheville Humane Society president Katherine M. Shenar, who started a fund to help Bobbi & The Strays recover. “The roof is still affixed but frayed and ragged. The shelter sustained a lot of internal and external damage. All animal supplies, equipment, food, caging, and medicine in the Freeport shelter were ruined. Four feet of ocean water swirled through the buildings.” Despite the damage, Shenar said, “Bobbi & The Strays volunteers have been going out each day to feed and comfort” animals whose homes in the Far Rockaways were destroyed.”
Brookhaven Animal Shelter–Financially stressed by recent budget cuts, the Brookhaven Animal Shelter closed ahead of Sandy, and was back open soon afterward, but shelter supervisor Dori Schofield resigned two weeks later to focus on managing Save A Pet in Port Jefferson, which she founded in 2000. Schofield had headed both shelters since 2010.
Cape-Atlantic Citizens Altering the Strays, of Ocean City, New Jersey, was flooded for 36 hours. “Everything was floating,” CATS posted. “The cats were moved to higher ground and are safe,” but the property damage was extensive. CATS received an ASPCA grant of $5,000.
Cape Wildlife Center–a subsidiary of the Fund for Animals division of the Humane Society of the U.S., located in Barnstable, Massachusetts, the Cape Wildlife Center handled many injured birds, including a rare storm petrel, seldom seen on land. The center reported that the bird was underweight and exhausted, but appeared to be a good candidate for return to the wild after recovery.
Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company–The custodian for the estimated 130 wild horses on Assateague Island, off Maryland and Virginia, the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company reported that all of the horses are believed to have survived. Fire chief Harry Thornton told media that firefighters opened gates up and down the island ahead of Sandy, to enable the horses to flee the rising waves.
City Critters, Inc. of Manhattan, arranged foster housing for cats whose people were displaced by Sandy, and received $8,000 grant from the ASPCA to help fund post-Sandy animal rescue and adoption services.
Companion Animal Network founder Garo Alexanian on November 11, 2012 posted, “After having no gas for a week, we waited in line three times in one day to fill up our vehicles and headed out to Far Rockaway with prepared hot food for about 100 people and, thanks to the ASPCA, food for about 100 dogs. We saw no dogs and cats running in the streets, as was the case for months after Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana. However, there were people and animals in need of food.” The Companion Animal Network and ASPCA later partnered to provide three days of mobile veterinary service at Gerritson Beach in Brooklyn, a neighborhood hit by six to eight feet of storm surge. “All of our expenses are sponsored by the ASPCA,” Alexanian told ANIMAL PEOPLE. “Their generosity and members made our services possible.”
Delaware County SPCA–The Delco SPCA (as it is best known) housed displaced animals for the Woodbridge Animal Shelter and the Monmouth County SPCA, and arranged for 46 unclaimed shelter animals to be flown to the Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Santa Fe, California, to make room for the emergency cases.
Detroit Dog Rescue sent four volunteers and a truckload of supplies to help Guardians of Rescue on Long Island.
Doris Day Animal Foundation–granted $5,000 for disaster relief to the Pet Safe Coalition on Long Island.
Feral Cat Initiative–See Mayor’s Alliance for New York City’s Animals.
Friends of Animals, in Norwalk, Connecticut, lost office telephone and Internet service for nearly two weeks. Many staff experienced damage to their homes.
Greater Good Network Animal Rescue Site–The GGN-ARS issued more than $90,000 in grants to animal charities involved in the Sandy relief effort, including $25,000 to IFAW, $10,000 to the Woodbridge Animal Shelter, and $10,000 to the Humane Society of Atlantic County.
Guardians of Rescue, of Smithtown, New York, maintained possibly the most active of the many post-Sandy rescue Facebook pages, deploying volunteers to Midland Beach on Staten Island and other damaged neighborhoods in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and on Long Island. The Guardians of Rescue efforts were materially assisted by the American Humane Association and Best Friends .
Helen Woodward Animal Center–HWAC on November 17, 2012 partnered with Southwest Airlines and the SeaWorld Rescue Team to evacuate 45 animals from Save A Pet on Long Island and the Delco SPCA in Pennsylvania.
Humane Society of Atlantic County–Built in 1968, about four blocks from water to the south and west, HSAC had never before been flooded, but storm surge from Sandy severely damaged both the shelter and the HSAC veterinary clinic. HSAC “lost their food supply, a significant amount of medications and vaccines, veterinary equipment including their x-ray table, and three refrigerators, and other office equipment,” reported Rosemary Jones of The Animal Rescue Site. “Outside damages included downed trees in exercise areas. Despite this, HSAC kept going, helping to distribute food and supplies to displaced families in their community.” A month after Sandy, the HSAC continued to advise that the shelter still did not have telephone or Internet access.
Humane Society of Ocean City–Closed for three days after Sandy, the Humane Society of Ocean City shelter did not regain telephone service until November 13.
Humane Society of the U.S.–HSUS personnel “responded to more than 40 calls for help and rescued 64 animals in Ocean County, New Jersey,” HSUS president Wayne Pacelle blogged. “We also cared for nearly 500 animals in emergency shelters in Monmouth and Ocean County, New Jersey and Nassau County, New York, where we partnered with local groups.”
Husky House Rescue, of Matawan, New Jersey, found a gas leak in a back-up generator during preparation for Sandy on October 26, 2012. Five donors chipped in to replace the generator. Then the storm itself tore half the roof off of a kennel building and damaged the fences.
Infinite Hope Services, of Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, assisted pet keepers and feral cat colony caretakers in the Rockaways and Staten Island, partially funded by an ASPCA grant of $6,000.
International Fund for Animal Welfare sent staff to help the Monroe County Animal Rescue Team run a temporary shelter at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania.
Last Hope Animal Rescue, of Wantagh, Long Island, cancelled a November 7, 2012 fundraising dinner and focused on raising funds online to assist other shelters on Long Island and in New Jersey, including the Town of Babylon and Town of Oyster Bay animal control shelters.
Liberty Humane Society–The largest shelter serving Jersey City, the Liberty Humane Society “made it through Hurricane Sandy safely with only minimal damage to our building, but were without power for eight long days,” LHS posted. “During that time our animal care staff continued to clean, feed, medicate and comfort animals in the dark.” LHS also distributed supplies donated by PetSmart Charities and HSUS to temporary shelters and displaced residents in Jersey City and Hoboken. An ASPCA grant of $1,500 replaced a severely damaged storage shed.
Little Guild of St. Francis, in West Cornwall, Connecticut took in 65 dogs and 23 cats from shelters in the hardest hit areas to help make room for new arrivals.
Little Shelter–Much of the 85-year-old Little Shelter and adjacent Sheltervale Pet Cemetery in Hempstead, Long Island, suffered severe damage from falling trees, including the cat and dog housing. Loss of electricity also meant loss of heating and communications.
Louie’s Legacy Animal Rescue, of Staten Island, distributed pet food donated by PetCo.
Louisiana SPCA, of New Orleans, sent several staff to help in the Superstorm Sandy relief effort.
Mayor’s Alliance for New York City’s Animals president Jane Hoffman was without electricity for days after Sandy, but managed to help coordinate animal relief work as a member of the New York City Office of Emergency Management’s Animal Planning Task Force. Two Mayor’s Alliance projects, the Feral Cat Initiative and Wheels of Hope, helped to evacuate animals and delivered food and water to cat colony caretakers.
Monmouth County SPCA–Normally operating a shelter in Eatontown and an adoption center in Freehold, the Monmouth County SPCA suspended adoptions after Sandy and used the adoption shelter to house additional animals. The Freehold location resumed adoptions and clinic work on November 5, but the Eatonville location was without electricity until November 13. The shelter used a natural gas-powered generator to provide the animals with water, heat, and light, reportedly running up a gas bill of $12,000 for the month. “Some staff members stayed at the facility for almost 72 hours, starting the night before the storm hit,” the ASPCA recounted in announcing a grant of $4,000 to the Monmouth County SPCA. “They expanded foster networks and converted the shelter’s community room into temporary cat housing. After a period of operating at 110% capacity, the staff hopes that the shelter will return to normal operation by the end of the year.”
Monroe County Animal Rescue Team–MCART set up a storm shelter at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania. Expecting to receive 50-75 animals, the storm shelter actually housed 23 animals at peak.
Nassau County SPCA--Operating shelters at Uniondale, Wantagh, and Woodmere on Long Island, the Nassau County SPCA helped to manage the emergency shelter set up by the North Shore Animal League at Mitchel Field. Nassau County SPCA staff rescued two alligators from a parking lot earlier in October 2012, and were on the lookout for more after Sandy, but no more turned up.
Neighborhood Cats, of Manhattan, established a Hurricane Sandy Feral Cat Relief Fund. “We’ve distributed hundreds of new winter shelters to replace those those that were lost or destroyed, ensuring cats will stay warm and dry through the cold months ahead,” Neighborhood Cats posted. “We’ve provided food for colonies in all five boroughs [of New York City] and on Long Island and in other outlying areas.” Neighborhood Cats also helped to fund veterinary care for cats who suffered illness or injury due to Sandy.
New England St. Bernard Rescue Club delivered supplies to Save A Pet, of Long Island.
New Jersey Aid for Animals, of Winslow Township, escaped damage from Sandy, but housed animals for neighbors whose homes were badly damaged.
North Shore Animal League America–Then-North Shore Animal League operations director Perry Fina, who died in 2008, saw the jets hit the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 while driving to work, and mobilized the animal disaster relief response while still on the road. His successor, Joanne Yohannan, continued the tradition of rapid response by opening an emergency animal shelter at Mitchel Field in Nassau County before Sandy hit, partnering with the Nassau County SPCA. The emergency shelter eventually handled more than 500 displaced pets, and still housed 250 animals a month after Sandy. Supplied by Purina PetCare, North Shore also distributed pet food in storm-stricken parts of Long Island, Queens, Brooklyn, other New York City neighborhoods, and New Jersey. Having planned to field a fundraising Team Animal League in the New York Marathon, North Shore instead welcomed those runners and others as volunteers after the marathon was cancelled. Without electricity for a week, the main North Shore shelter in Port Washington used generators to continue looking after the 650 animals who were already there when Sandy developed. As after 9/11, Yohannan said, “Hundreds of our employees–in fact, virtually our entire staff–were personally affected, losing power, homes, property, and sadly, even loved ones.” Yohannan appealed for people whose cars were wrecked by Sandy to donate the remnants to North Shore. “Even if your car has been rendered inoperable,” she said, “it still can be salvaged for parts.”
North Shore Horse Rescue, housing 15 rescued horses at Baiting Hollow, Long Island, received $1,000 from the ASPCA to help repair storm-damaged fencing.
Pets Alive–The Pets Alive shelter in Westchester, New York, formerly the Elmsford Animal Shelter, escaped Sandy without damage, and accommodated about 30 cats who were transferred from New York City Animal Care & Control. The original Pets Alive shelter in Middletown was without electricity for about a day and a half.
Pets for Life NYC–Formed to provide pet retention counseling services, Pets for Life NYC volunteers responded to Manhattan emergency calls referred by hsus.
Pet Safe Coalition–Formed in 1998 by former American Red Cross publicist Nancy Lynch specifically to do disaster relief for animals in Nassau County, New York, the Pet Safe Coalition provided volunteer help at the Mitchel Field emergency shelter set up by the North Shore Animal League. The Pet Safe Coalition received a grant of $5,000 for post-Sandy relief work from the Doris Day Animal Foundation.
PetSmart Charities on November 1, 2012 dispatched four truckloads of pet supplies to Syracuse, New York, for relay to wherever they were needed. The supplies were later distributed in Monmouth County, New Jersey, New York City, and parts of West Virginia that were paralyzed by unseasonable post-Sandy snow storms.
Ramapo Bergen Animal Refuge–Located in Oakland, New Jersey, the Ramapo Bergen Animal Refuge was among the few animal shelters in the region that never lost electricity, housing animals temporarily for others that did.
Rational Animal, of New York City, replaced the dog beds at BideAWee and the Liberty Humane Society, and sold note cards to benefit Bobbi & The Strays.
Red Rover, formerly United Animal Nations, sent 11 trained volunteers to Monmouth County, New Jersey.
Road Runner Rescue, a nonprofit animal transport service located in Upper Fairmount, Maryland, lost stored veterinary supplies, but received recovery aid from Best Friends.
St. Hubert’s Giralda–Operating shelters in Madison and North Branch, New Jersey, St. Hubert’s Giralda served as a regional distribution center for supplies donated to help animals displaced by Sandry.
Save A Pet, of Port Jefferson, Long Island, cancelled a fundraising “Barkfest” and “Fur Ball” as Sandy approached, and refocused on distributing donated pet supplies to those in need, including a ton of dog and cat food delivered by the New England St. Bernard Rescue Club.
Save The Animals Rescue Team II of Englewood, New Jersey, had property damage and lost power for 10 days. The shelter’s nine dogs were boarded at a Ridgefield Park kennel, and the 59 cats were with volunteers. The group also had to evacuate cats it keeps at PetSmart stores that lost power,” reported Bergen Record staff writer Jay Levin. “There’s nothing going on-no donations coming in, no adoptions going out,” president Marge Kayne said.
Sean Casey Animal Rescue, operating two shelters in Brooklyn, housed additional animals at an emergency shelter in the Sunset Park district. SCAR volunteer Jessie Steich-Kest and her companion Jacob Vogelman, 24, were killed by a falling tree in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, while walking their pit bull Max on October 29, 2012, at the height of the storm. Max survived with serious injuries. (See Obituaries.)
Seer Farms, of Jackson, New Jersey, founded by former American Red Cross volunteer Laura Pople, housed 118 animals who were evacuated from Seaside Heights.
SPCA of Connecticut founder Frederick Acker, who recently relocated the often embattled 13-year-old organization from Monroe to Bethlehem, “said that he was in the middle of retrofitting the new facility with heaters and insulation when Superstorm Sandy and the subsequent snowstorm struck, delaying the process,” reported Daniela Forte of The County Times. “Bethlehem Animal Control Officer Judy Umstead expressed concern that the facility was too cold to house the animals,” seizing 60 dogs on November 8, 2012 and charging Acker with 62 counts of neglect.
Staten Island Hope Animal Rescue coordinated volunteer searches for lost and stranded animals in flooded neighborhoods and arranged foster care for the animals of displaced persons, partially funded by $2,500 from the ASPCA.
Suffolk County SPCA–The SC/SPCA, of Hauppage, New York, on Long Island, deployed a mobile animal hospital to help at “Pet-Friendly” shelters for displaced humans and animals, operated an emergency animal shelter at the Brentwood Recreation Center in the Town of Islip, and distributed donated pet food in the Town of Babylon.
Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter–Though without electricity, “We have been patrolling the hardest hit communities and are helping people and their beloved pets by providing supplies, food and medical care. We have also brought in many many displaced animals that have been separated from their owners,” the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter posted to Facebook on November 2, 2012. By November 7, the shelter reported evacuating and housing more than 175 animals who were displaced by Sandy.
Tri-State Bird Rescue, of Newark, Delaware cleaned oil off of sea birds and other wildlife who were caught in an oil spill caused by Sandy along the New Jersey coast. Urban Cat League–The Urban Cat League of New York City received $5,000 from the ASPCA to replace lost and damaged equipment and supplies.
Westchester Animal Shelter–Located in Harrison, New York, WAS took in eight dogs and 10 cats from New York City Animal Care & Control before Sandy hit.
Wetlands Institute–Storm surge wrecked Wetlands Institue fencing that helped to reduce the number of migrating female terrapins hit by vehicles each nesting season, and broke apart wildlife observation boardwalks. The fencing was restored by volunteers on November 17, 2012.
Wildlife Conservation Society–The 14-acre New York Aquarium grounds at Coney Island were entirely flooded.
Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island took in three brown pelicans who had been blown far from their normal habitat, and arranged for them to be flown to the Marine Science Center in Ponce Inlet, Florida, for rehabilitation and release.
Woodbridge Animal Shelter–Serving the watefront community of Sewaren, across Arthur Kill from Staten Island, “Woodbridge’s animal shelter was flooded halfway up the wall. They had to evacuate the animals by boat,” reported the Delco SPCA, which took in the animals. –Merritt Clifton