Long Island Pet Shelters Still In Demand After Hurricane Sandy

The Suffolk SPCA’s MASH Unit (Photo: Suffolk SPCA)

Pet shelters across Long Island are still open, but are facing an onslaught of new problems in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Nassau County is dealing with the possibility of having to shelter more people and animals who have fled their homes post-storm, due to the lack of sewage and clean drinking water in several neighborhoods. On Friday they moved into a bigger facility at 11 West Street in Uniondale that will be able to shelter about 500 animals.


“We’ve been waiting for the big influx from Long Beach,” Pet Safe Coalition’s Executive Director Beverly Poppell said. “We know that we’re looking at a longer term situation than with the usual coastal storm.”

Jo Ellen Cimmino, LVT, director of animal disaster services at Pet Safe Coalition, said that veterinarians from the Hempstead Animal Shelter are on hand to deal with stressed or injured animals, and that North Shore Animal League set up three of their mobile vans for the shelter.

“We’re already thinking that this is going to turn into a bigger pet sheltering event,” Cimmino said.

In Suffolk, the number of pets at the shelters has dwindled to just four dogs and one cat as of Friday morning, but SPCA officers are running out of supplies.

“It’s a very, very tough situation out there,” Suffolk SPCA Chief Roy Gross said, explaining that the officers and volunteers with the not-for-profit organization are running out of gas to get to and from the shelter and fuel for their generators. But he says that the ability to help those who need it the most makes all the hard work worth it.

“We had one couple who just left the shelter, they lost their house and their car, all they had left was each other and their little Pomeranian dog,” he said. “They kept thanking us over and over for everything. We’re glad that we can be there to help.”

The remaining animals have been moved from the Brentwood and Riverhead shelters to the SPCA’s mobile hospital outside of Sachem High School East, located at 177 Granny Road in Farmingville. Their owners can stay at the high school.

Animals brought to a pet shelter should have proper identification collar and rabies tag, proper identification on all belongings, a carrier or cage, a leash, an ample supply of food, water and food bowls, any necessary medications, specific care instructions and news papers or trash bags for clean-up.

If you would like to help the Pet Safe Coalition or the Suffolk SPCA, both are in need of money for gas, volunteers and supplies. Go to www.facebook.com/petsafecoalition or www.suffolkspca.org or call 631-852-4965, a Suffolk County Office of Emergency Management line that has been dedicated to the Suffolk SPCA during Sandy’s aftermath.

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