(NEW YORK) — Three months after Superstorm Sandy made landfall, devastating parts of New York and New Jersey, thousands of victims still await aid from the government, while lost animals wait to be found by their owners.
Now, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is encouraging pet owners uprooted by the Oct. 29 storm to visit its temporary shelter in Brooklyn, N.Y., and reclaim their missing pets.
“After 45-plus days in an emergency shelter environment, these pets really need to get in a home,” said Tim Rickey, senior director of the ASPCA Field and Investigations Department. “It’s not healthy physically or mentally. We’re trying to get these guys out of here and get them into forever homes.”
At last count, there are 137 pets awaiting possible reunions with their owners. So far, the boarding facility has been successful in reuniting many of the pets displaced by Sandy.
Six weeks ago, the ASPCA opened the boarding facility as a temporary emergency shelter serving the needs of animals seven days a week in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. About 300 pets — mostly dogs and cats — were taken in. As the shelter prepares to close down its temporary operation, Rickey and his team are trying to find these pets permanent homes.
“We’ve talked to folks who have been struggling for the last month and a half and come and get their pet,” said Rickey. “For some, tonight will be the first night their family has been complete since Superstorm Sandy hit.”
In the days after Sandy, when pet owners weren’t walking through the doors, the not-for-profit corporation took a grassroots approach to connect owners and their pets by posting flyers, creating public service announcements and uploading photos of lost animals through the website Animal Care and Control of New York City’s lost pets. As the ASPCA winds down its Brooklyn operations, it’s also encouraging owners who are unable to come to the shelter to search online for their four-legged companions.
“We want to give residents every opportunity to be reunited with their pets,” said Rickey. “We’re hoping to see a lot of folks throughout the weekend.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire
Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire