As many people begin to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy, another city population is still trying to find their homes – pets lost during the storm.
The ASPCA took in about 300 pets in the days after the hurricane, many who had been found roaming evacuated neighborhoods. Others were given to the ASPCA while their owners tried to salvage their own homes and lives.
More than two months later, the ASPCA and other volunteers are still trying to get pets to their owners.
"Many of the evacuees left in such a way they could not take their pets with them," said ASPCA director of planning and field operations Joel Lopez. Some thought they would be back soon; others simply did not have a way to bring along furry friends, he said.
The ASPCA hoped to connect all pets by yesterday (Sunday Jan. 5) before beginning to shutter an emergency boarding facility opened just for Sandy pets in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
The group does not have a strict date for closing, Lopez said, but they will soon begin placing pups through adoption shelters around the northeast.
Out of the 280 pets rescued, from cats and dogs to ferrets and birds, about 140 were waiting to be claimed last week, ASPCA officials said.
Trying to identify owners
The ASPCA tried to track down owners with flyers and advertisements in newspapers, on the radio and on their website.
Facebook is another way a separate group of volunteers is trying to place pets. The Hurricane Sandy Lost and Found Pets Facebook site posts photos of pets found during the storm. They also feature pets whose owners can no longer keep them and that now need foster or adoptive homes.
"It’s such a sad situation," said Rosalie Carlson, who makes fliers for the pets on the site.
More than 500 pets have been featured on the page, she said, with about 174 reunited so far. Just Friday, they reunited a parakeet, she said.
One Dec. 31 post described a 7-month-old male cat "found almost drowned on Atlantic Ave" during the storm, adding, "He is super friendly and must belong to someone."
(Photos via ASPCA)