NEW YORK--The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), at the request of the Schoharie County Emergency Operations Center and New York State Office of Emergency Management, has dispatched its Field Investigations and Response team to Schoharie County, N.Y., to assist in the emergency rescue of animals displaced by the severe flooding following Tropical Storm Irene.
The ASPCA is leading the effort with assistance from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), which will be managing water rescue operations for animals affected by the recent storm. Additionally, PetSmart Charities, Inc. is supplying much needed sheltering supplies such as crates, blankets, and bowls.
ASPCA responders arrived Tuesday evening to begin assessing needs and coordinate efforts with IFAW on emergency water rescues for pets trapped inside flooded homes. A state of emergency has been declared for Schoharie County due to extensive flooding, road closures and closed bridges around the county. Displaced animals will be taken to the Animal Shelter of Schoharie Valley where they will be triaged and temporarily housed until they are reunited with their owners.
Schoharie County residents requiring sheltering for their pets or wishing to report lost pets or rescue needs should contact Animal Services at the Schoharie County Emergency Operations Center at (518) 231-2718. The ASPCA recommends that pet owners bring vaccination records, carriers, leashes/collars, and instructions for pets with special needs.
"The ASPCA is committed to helping pet owners and animals impacted by Tropical Storm Irene," said Tim Rickey, senior director of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. "We will continue to do everything we can to help this community."
Over the weekend, ASPCA responders from across the country deployed to New York City to prepare for animal emergencies in anticipation of the storm. The ASPCA helped hundreds of animals throughout the City's five boroughs, assessing the needs at evacuation centers where pets were welcomed and delivering rabies vaccines and microchips for cats and dogs at the emergency shelters. Additionally, the ASPCA transported approximately 100 animals that had been temporarily evacuated from a Long Island shelter via its Animal Transport Trailer, a custom-built, 60-foot-long vehicle designed to save the lives of animals that fall victim to natural disasters or animal cruelty and neglect.
"The best thing you can do for yourself and your pet in the event of an emergency is to be prepared," added Rickey. "Having a plan in place ahead of time can save you precious time and energy, so you can focus on quickly getting you and your pets to safety." The ASPCA urges pet owners to develop an emergency plan in advance to keep their families and pets safe as hurricane season reaches its height.
For more information on disaster preparedness and safety tips from the ASPCA, please visit www.aspca.org/pet-care/disaster-preparedness/.