While Hurricane Irene wasn’t quite as devastating as predicted, it still left a path of destruction along the East Coast. Ever since last weekend, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has been busy rescuing animals displaced by the storm.
The HSUS has been working in North Carolina to help provide shelter for lost animals and reunite them with their pet parents. It has also set up an emergency shelter in Vermont where, with the assistance of the American Red Cross, National Guard and local authorities, it is helping pets left homeless by the disastrous flooding in that state.
“There’s obviously a need for animals to be sheltered while families get themselves together, and there’s nowhere for these animals to go or get food or water,” Sára Varsa, director of operations for the HSUS’ Animal Rescue Team, says in a video of the group’s efforts in North Carolina. “We want them to have a safe haven and have the people know their animals are going to be safe during that time.”
Thanks to the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act (PETS Act) of 2006, shelters must now be provided for both people and pets after a disaster. The act was passed after so many pet parents had to abandon their beloved companions during Hurricane Katrina. As its summary states, “Hurricane Katrina has clearly shown that when given a choice between their own personal safety or abandoning their household pets, a significant number of people will choose to risk their lives in order to remain with their pets.”
In its blog After Hurricane Irene, the HSUS has been providing regular updates on how it is providing shelter for rescued animals.
Wednesday’s dispatch from North Carolina tells the story of Jennifer Potter, who frantically had to pack up her belongings Saturday morning as floodwaters surged into her house. Her two Labrador-Beagle mixes jumped up on the back of furniture to escape the incoming water, which rose to 4 feet. The HSUS is providing shelter for Potter’s dogs and other pets while she and her family stay with relatives.
Earlier Wednesday, according to the blog, the HSUS team rescued two lost Huskies that had wandered “some two miles, and across two rivers, from their owner’s home.”
To help the HSUS save animals affected by Hurricane Irene, you can donate online to its Disaster Relief Fund, or you can donate $10 by texting LOVE to 20222.
“There’s assistance still needed, especially for the animals in the community,” Varsa says.
For tips on how to be prepared for hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires and other disasters, read Prepare Your Pets for Emergencies.