The Effects of Hurricane Sandy on Pets and How you can Help
Hurricane Sandy was not only destructive for humans but for animals as well. Many pets across Long Island were evacuated and are staying in shelters temporarily or were surrendered permanently by their parents. In the event of an emergency we prepare for our loved ones safety. This should include our pets as well! Below are some tips to make things easier in the event of an emergency.
Before the Storm
It’s a good idea to have plenty of food and water for your pet in case you can’t get to the store for a few days. Be sure to have bowls, leashes, towels, litter, carriers, and any medications as well. It is also important to have your pet’s most recent medical information at home (vaccination history, prescription information etc.). Having coats and sweaters handy for warmth is a good idea not only for outdoor protection but should you lose power and heat.
During the Storm
If your pet gets anxious during a storm it is a good idea to stay with them to keep them calm. Be sure all windows and doors are secure so your pet can’t escape into the storm. Do not tranquilize your pets – they will need their survival instincts should the storm require that.
After the Storm
Make sure the storm has passed and you assess any damages before letting your dog outside. Keep dogs leashed – displaced objects and fallen trees can disorient pets and sharp debris can hurt them. They may need time to become re-oriented when familiar scents and landmarks are altered. Be sure to keep them away from downed power lines and water that may be contaminated.
Uncertainty and change in the environment affects animals too. Your pet’s behavior may change after a crisis, becoming more aggressive or self-protective. Be aware of this behavior and keep more room between them and other animals, children and strangers. Comfort your pet with lots praise.
Fortunately there are resources in place for those in our area who are in need. The North Shore Animal League has currently set up a temporary shelter. There are approximately 100 cats, 100 dogs, and a variety of birds, turtles, rabbits, and even fish being housed at the Mitchel Field Gymnasium. This service was free of charge and provided food, shelter and medical care for as long as needed. People can drop off animals throughout the month of November – at which point the animals may be moved to a different location. They will always be safe and eventually reunited with their owners (none of the animals are up for adoption). Many pet owners are staying directly across the street at Nassau Community College and can visit with their pets regularly.
There have been many happy stories of pets being reunited with their owners! However some reunions may take a little longer. You can help by donating blankets, towels, and toys to many of the local shelters.
Pet Sitters Club has been running a drive to collect much needed items and supplies to distribute to local shelters in need. Many shelters are still in need of foster homes for pets at the shelter, supplies such as food & crates and monetary donations. Check out the Nassau County SPCA website www.nassaucountyspca.gov to see some of the listed shelters that are in need of donations.