Fresh Patch Applauds Rescue of Pets Orphaned by Hurricane Sandy

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Hurricane Sandy has displaced many pets from their owners. Several animal-lovers, including some famous celebrities, have been stepping forward to help out with this important cause.

The human suffering from Hurricane Sandy has been enormous, and part of that can be the loss of family pets, who provide critical companionship to their owners

Pets separated from their families by Hurricane Sandy are receiving help from several sources, says Andrew Feld, whose company, Fresh Patch, ships real-grass dog potties nationally (http://www.FreshPatch.com). Feld notes that prominent individuals are focusing attention on these animals and promoting donations to the animal shelters and other organizations that are aiding them.

On November 10, 2012, actress Denise Richards visited the shelter at the North Shore Animal League America in Long Island, New York (http://www.animalleague.org/). Her visit and her adoption of an orphaned puppy were featured in People magazine online.

Rachael Ray donated $500,000 to the ASPCA to help pets and families struggling to rebound from Sandy. Her pet food brand, Nutrish, is also shipping 4 tons of wet and dry dog food for Sandy animals, and her Yum-o organization is donating $100,000 to City Harvest and the Food Bank for New York City.

Another well-known person, Jane Velez-Mitchell, has devoted several episodes of her nightly television show on the HLN network to the plight of animals orphaned by Hurricane Sandy. She has encouraged donations to shelters that are housing these pets and helping to reunite them with their families. “The human suffering from Hurricane Sandy has been enormous,” says Feld, “and part of that can be the loss of family pets, who provide critical companionship to their owners.”

According to Feld, the need to evacuate and provide shelter for animals, together with their owners, during disasters such as Hurricane Sandy was recognized by the enactment of the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act of 2006, also known as the Pets Act. The Pets Act requires that local and state emergency management plans include preparation for evacuating family pets and service animals along with their owners. It also allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide funding to create pet-friendly shelters and to assist with the development of such localized emergency management plans. This law was enacted following the horrific loss of thousands of animals during Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, when families being evacuated were told that they could not take their pets and companion animals with them.

Largely as a result of that law and the lessons learned from Katrina, many of the pets evacuated due to Hurricane Sandy accompanied their owners to human shelters, and some were placed in shelters that were set up specifically for pets. Unfortunately, many pets were still separated from their owners during and after the storm, which wreaked havoc in New Jersey and New York areas. Several animal welfare organizations have been working diligently to rescue these animals, to ensure that they are well-treated, and to help reunite them with their families or place them with new owners through adoption. For example the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) says that it has helped nearly 6,000 animals affected by Hurricane Sandy (http://www.aspca.org/) and that the need is likely to become greater as winter weather approaches.

Feld notes that Hurricane Sandy has shown pet owners how crucial it is to have identification tags on their pets, or to have microchips implanted in their pets to aid in the identification and reuniting process. The devastating hurricane also underscored the need to have carrying cases for pets, so that they can be easily transported along with their owners during an evacuation.

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Karina Michel
Fresh Patch
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