Veterinary Response in Wake of Sandy

November 5, 2012

View update: November 7, 2012

Members of The HSUS' Animal Rescue Team recover a dog who was left behind during Hurricane Sandy
A Member of The HSUS' Animal Rescue Team holds a cat who was rescued in Union Beach, NJ after Hurricane Sandy
Member of The HSUS' Animal Rescue Team holds a dog rescued in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy
The HSUS's Animal Rescue Team on the ground helping with the Hurricane Sandy animal rescue efforts .
all images by Lisa J. Godfrey for The HSUS

Our hearts go out to everyone on the East Coast experiencing hardship due to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. As veterinary professionals, we realize that animals have often been the forgotten victims of natural disasters. Hurricane Katrina showed the American public how important our companion animals are in our lives and how, as family members, they have to be provided for in rescue and relief efforts.The HSVMA would like to provide our members a brief summary of animal rescue and relief work going on.

Veterinary practices and animals shelters are among the millions without power. Our colleagues with the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams are on standby if needed to be deployed by states requiring additional help. Funded by the AVMA’s charitable arm, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, VMAT assists with treatment and in establishing bases of operation for veterinary triage and medical care if they are requested. Veterinarians or clinics that assist animals during this disaster may be eligible for reimbursement for veterinary supplies used in disaster efforts, for housing animals and for financing repairs at damaged clinics through AVMF grants.

More information about AVMF's disaster grants can be found here»

The Humane Society of the United States, of which the HSVMA is an affiliate, has deployed more than 30 staff and volunteers with its Animal Rescue Team to help pets impacted by Hurricane Sandy. They are conducting damage assessments and performing rescues in New Jersey and New York for animals left behind or stranded because of the storm, and are helping to run two shelters, caring for nearly 200 animals. The shelters are being staffed by the Animal Rescue Team with veterinary assistance provided by professionals contacted by state Emergency Management Agencies with coordination from local animal welfare organizations, veterinarians and veterinary practices in the affected areas.

The HSUS has also teamed with the Animal Planning Task force in New York City and the New Jersey state Office of Emergency Management and Department of Agriculture to launch 24-hour rescue hotlines for evacuees who were unable to bring their pets with them before Hurricane Sandy hit. The hotline is is fielding hundreds of calls from its call center.

Sandy Response Updates

Get the most current updates on The HSUS' Sandy response efforts here»

The peace of mind that comes from knowing that each beloved companion is being cared for by animal rescue professionals surely provides the weary human victims of Hurricane Sandy a measure of relief as they begin the process of putting their lives and homes back together.

Hurricane Sandy Pet Rescue Hotlines

New York City: (347) 573-1561

New Jersey (statewide):(855) 407-4787

HSVMA members licensed to practice in the states of New York or New Jersey who would like to provide assistance or can provide veterinary supplies or boarding should contact Sara Varsa, Director of Operations for The HSUS Animal Cruelty, Rescue and Response Team, by e-mailing or calling (301) 258-3095.

Update: November 7, 2012

The HSUS' Animal Rescue Teams are conducting search and rescue in three of the hardest hit counties: Ocean County, NJ, Monmouth County, NJ, and Nassau County, NY. They established two shelters in NJ and, today, are accepting another 150 animals who must be evacuated due to the threatening nor’easter.

On Long Island, the Nassau County Emergency Pet Shelter in Carle Place is housing 150 animals. Rescued animals are being reunited with their owners, but calls for sheltering and rescues are increasing. HSUS Animal Rescue Teams, which are being assisted by Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter personnel, are in the field as the snow has begun falling with the start of the nor’easter.

RedRover Responders have partnered with the Animal Rescue Team and previously-established veterinary assistance in staffing the shelters.