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Finding Homes for Superstorm Sandy’s Animal Refugees

Finding Homes for Superstorm Sandy Animal Refugees

It was a year ago today that the waves came crashing into Jersey shore and the New York Harbor poured into parts of the Manhattan subway system. It was the day that many New Englander’s never thought could happen, a day the nation hadn’t seen since Hurricane Katrina.

Superstorm Sandy, a unique mix of powerful hurricane and nor’easter took a dramatic lefthand turn directly into the New Jersey shore. This storm brought damage to New England not seen since the 1938 Great New England Hurricane, displacing humans and their pets.

Technically, Sandy was a post tropical storm when it made landfall just north of Atlantic City, N.J. on Oct. 29, 2012.  Even though it was post tropical, it still packed winds of hurricane force with gusts as high as 96 mph!  The Center for Disease Control released an official report placing the death toll in the United States at 117.Thousands were displaced and millions went without power for days all along the northeastern coast.

Unfortunately, a common occurrence with natural disasters is the separation of pets and their guardians.  Superstorm Sandy was no different leaving hundreds of pets abandoned after the storm.  NBC News reports the multitude of situations that have caused pets to be left in shelters across the country due to the storm.  Some pets have been abandoned, others lost, some families still have no homes to support their pets, and some have even been orphaned.

A year later and pets are still waiting in these shelters. Terry Messer, the executive program director for the nonprofit Furever Animal Rescue told NBC News that she still has three dogs who survived Sandy. To further put the situation in perspective, Furever Animal Rescue is located all the way across the country in California, over a 1,00o miles away from where the storm hit!

As hard as it is to see pets and their guardian’s separated by a storm, there are stories of happy reunions.  Caitlin Stewart of Weinstock, N.J. told NBC News about losing her cat named Bird during the storm.  Nearly two months after the storm hit and countless leads and tips, Stewart was reunited with her cat a week before Christmas.  She credits the help of social media in finding her cat, specially a page called Hurricane Sandy Lost and Found.

Social media has been a revolutionizing tool in reuniting guardians and their pets in general, but especially after a storm or natural disaster. Trish Lane of New Hampshire created the Facebook page Hurricane Sandy Lost and Found Pets on the eve of the storm’s landfall.  The Facebook page’s main purpose is to “[post] photos of lost or found pets in the areas affected by Sandy, as well as [post] animal shelters in need and temporary shelters that allow animals.”

Lane told NBC News, “It’s a year later and (the Facebook page) hasn’t lost any of its steam.”

This continued enthusiasm on the site is great news for all the pets who still need homes a year after this monster of a storm disrupted life on the New England coast! View the Facebook page here to see if you can help out any of these Superstorm Sandy pet refugees!

Image Source: Alec Perkings/Flickr

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