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Following days of flooding and power outages caused by Superstorm Sandy, thousands of homeowners find themselves still shut out of their neighborhoods by evacuation orders, safety concerns, or curfews. Many were desperately worried about the pets left behind in the scramble to escape the storm's fury.
In Seaside Heights, NJ, the International Fund for Animal Welfare's Animal Search and Rescue (ASAR) teams went door-to-door to feed animals and make reassuring phone calls to their owners that their pets were safe. Cats, dogs, turtles, and even a boa constrictor were fed.
Rescue workers tell the tale of Peanut, a small dog whose muddy footprints next to the refrigerator's handle showed how he had spent the hours before they arrived. Peanut (shown above) was happy to take a journey in the travel crate with IFAW's crew and leave his cold, wet home behind.
"We were asked to support land and water search and rescue operations for animals in Ocean County,” said Shannon Walajtys, IFAW Manager for Disasters. When responding to disasters, the team brings a rescue truck and trailer filled with essential equipment and supplies, including boats, and works with local animal rescue authorities to coordinate efforts.
In New Jersey, IFAW is partnering with the ASPCA, the Animal Rescue League of Boston, the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and Toms River Animal Control. "The ASPCA is pleased to be in a position to assist Ocean County authorities, and the incredible support and collaboration with the local officials and our response partners will allow us to respond quickly to animal rescue requests. Our priority is to help reunite as many pet owners and their animals as possible," said Dr. Dick Green, director of Disaster Response for the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team, who is overseeing the rescue efforts.
On Nov. 5, GreaterGood.org announced that a grant of $25,000 will go to IFAW's rescue response following Superstorm Sandy. This grant was made possible by The Animal Rescue Site's Gift That Gives More [tm] program.