Leadership

Associations Play Key Role in Sandy Animal Rescues

The recent hurricane affected millions of pets and other animals, and a number of national and local groups are helping to protect them.

Hurricane Sandy’s wrath didn’t just have a human toll.

In fact, the American Humane Association (AHA) tells Reuters that tens of millions of animals — including 15 million dogs, 14 million cats, 1.5 million horses, and numerous other animals — were put in harm’s way.

While New York City has taken steps to help storm victims stay with their pets — including allowing animals to take public transportation — more can be done, and animal rescues may be necessary. That’s where outside groups come in.

The AHA, along with several other associations and groups, are working hard to make sure that pets in the storm zone are safe.

The rescue rig: As we reported last week, the AHA’s 82-foot-long Rescue Rig was active in efforts to rescue stray animals left behind by the storm.

Local assistance: Animal Care & Control of New York City has played an active role in patrolling hard-hit areas of the city. If onlookers spot an animal in danger or distress, the group recommends calling 311. The group also has a web page set up to help find missing pets.

Corporate assistance: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has been working with PetSmart Charities to help move supplies to the NYC area for at least 4,000 animals, according to Reuters. The group is also working to help deal with animals in New Jersey but says it could be days before they can get help to that region. “Unfortunately, they will begin uncovering some pretty sad situations,” said the ASPCA’s Tim Rickey.

Bringing in the reserves: With nonprofits on the front lines placed in difficult situations as a result of the storm, other groups are beginning to offer support. Utah’s Best Friends Animal Society is using funds from its “No More Homeless Pets” Network to accept animals from Animal Care & Control of New York City and move them to another service provider in New England. The group is accepting donations on its homepage.

Taking it into their own hands: A New Orleans-based woman started up a Facebook page, “Hurricane Sandy Lost and Found Pets,” where updates have been posted over the past week to help find missing pets and provide information from regional nonprofits. If you were running an association, how would you work with such a relevant community-built page?

With so much to be done, how can associations help ease these kinds of burdens? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Staff Sgt. Jessica Reichner helps load residents of Long Beach Island, N.J., and their pets onto a rescue vehicle. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Bill Addison/Released)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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