The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

November 13, 2012

Fate of pets adds to stress of storm survivors

(Continued)

In New York City and on Long Island, the ASPCA has rescued more than 300 animals and treated or provided supplies to about 13,000, working with government and private animal welfare agencies, said spokeswoman Emily Schneider.

City shelters took in about 400 animals along with their families in the first days after Sandy, Schneider said. There are now more than 100 in shelters with their owners, and a mobile animal medical clinic is cruising decimated neighborhoods in the Rockaway areas of Queens and on Staten Island.

In New Jersey, the Humane Society deployed dozens of first responders using mobile units and boats to bring in about 60 displaced animals each day on the barrier islands hit by the storm.

Two weeks after Sandy made landfall, followed a week later by a nor'easter, search-and-rescue teams were led by Animal Care & Control of NYC, a city-contracted nonprofit responding to hotline calls about pets in distress. Callers are owners forced to leave animals behind or unable to care for them, or people who see them wandering in hard-hit areas.

A Manhattan shelter takes in animals round the clock, hoping for owners to show up. And social media teams scour the Internet for reports of lost pets, helping reunite them with owners.

Rescuing animals is mandatory under federal law, which requires local and state governments to include plans for pets in emergency procedures. Federal Emergency Management Agency funds go toward the welfare of animals in disaster zones.

New York City's human shelters are required to accept pets, and so are taxis and public transportation.

More than 200 dogs, cats and other pets from a devastated area of Long Island are being sheltered in the gymnasium of a community college, set up by the North Shore Animal League America, the nation's largest no-kill rescue and adoption organization. Many, like the Sherwoods' Schwartz and Scooter, belong to owners in nearby shelters and hotels.

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