While the storm raged, many people were parted from their pets. The Humane Society of the United States
reported that around 15 million dogs, 14 million cats and 1.5 million horses were in the path of Hurricane Sandy's wrath.
In many cases, owners had to part with their pets when they evacuated their homes, while others tried to find accommodation where they could take their pets with them. Often the Humane Society collected pets for safekeeping, while the owners were evacuated to safety. But many were lost during the ordeal.
Shortly before the storm hit, New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg announced that all the city shelters were pet friendly and that around 70 pets had already arrived.
However, since Sandy passed through, there are thousands of pets desperately in need of shelter, as their homes have been destroyed, or cannot safely be occupied at present.
There are also many dogs and cats who simply panicked and ran when the storm hit and various lost and found pages are being set up on the Internet, including a Facebook page, Hurricane Sandy Lost and Found Pets
Their "about" reads, "Posting photos of lost or found pets in the areas affected by Sandy, as well as posting animal shelters in need and temporary shelters that allow animals. We are animal lovers and advocates trying to help with networking to get animals reunited with their families."
Their photo feed of lost and found pets can be viewed here
is also getting many posts.
The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
(ASPCA) reports that New York and Long Island shelters became temporary homes to only around 400 animals, which is worrying to many desperate owners that cannot find their pets.
In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie announced on Friday that a rescue hotline
has been set up for residents who had to leave their pets behind when evacuating. The number is 1-855-407-4787 and the hotline is open 24 hours a day. There is also a statewide pet hotline available: 1-866-407-4787.
There are many moving stories doing the rounds including one in Suffolk County. ASPCA chief Roy Gross told Long Island Press
, “We had one couple who just left the shelter, they lost their house and their car, all they had left was each other and their little Pomeranian dog.”
“They kept thanking us over and over for everything,” he added.
Gross said that the agency has been staffing Pet Friendly Shelters around the clock since Sandy hit and asked for help: "Our biggest need is for supplies; dog and cat food; blankets; bowls leashes and volunteers," Gross said, adding that volunteers are also needed to help staff the Mobile Animal Hospital (MASH Unit) where dogs and cats are being sheltered. Volunteers will then be trained to staff the shelters in the event of another disaster.