Maryland >> When Hurricane Sandy cut a path of destruction along the East Coast in late October, it left more than 8 million people without power. In coastal New York and New Jersey, entire communities were destroyed. Waste-contaminated flood waters washed down city streets and into homes. Families who live in these communities had little access to food and safe drinking water — for people or for pets.
Members of the Izaak Walton League’s Rockville Chapter responded quickly to calls for aid. Chapter members collected two truck-loads of pet food, warm blankets, and other supplies to be delivered to areas without power in New York and New Jersey. The donation was part of an effort coordinated by the Commonwealth Humane Society — an animal shelter in the suburbs of Washington, DC.
“There are people staffing rescue operations in Staten Island, Long Island, and New Jersey that have to live and serve the animals they care for in wet, freezing cold conditions,” Kent Shaw described to fellow Rockville Chapter members. “Without heat and light, no food for the animals, and no end in sight. The normal sources of food and supplies are shut down and without power. It’s not a matter of money. There are just no supplies available for the pets.”
The Rockville Chapter’s donations were added to others collected by Commonwealth Humane Society and crammed into a moving van for the trip north. Melissa Nelson of Posh Pets Rescue (http://poshpetsrescue.org) coordinated the delivery of supplies to local residents in areas where they were needed. She reported in mid-November, “We are making headway on getting supplies out to [animal] rescues and regular people in Long Island and Staten Island. Most of these areas have donation centers set up and we’ve been able to help stock them with pet food, blankets, and water. But many people can’t get to [the donation centers] because their cars were destroyed, and others are afraid to leave their homes due to fear of looting. So we have been trying to go door-to-door as often as possible to make sure they get what they need for themselves and their pets. We’ve had six different animal rescues and shelters come out to pick up supplies.”
“Our trip to the Midland Beach area of Staten Island was brutal. The entire neighborhood is devastated. The street was obstructed with cars and boats which we had to navigate around on foot. It looked like the waters had just picked them all up and washed them onto the road, leaving many of them at the end of the dead-end street. There was a limousine in a tree. What we saw in Staten Island is also going on in so many other areas as well. I know we can’t get to every person in every area, but we will do our best to help as many people and animals as we can.”
The generosity of Rockville Chapter members helped ease the burden on families devastated by the hurricane by providing for some of the most vulnerable family members: Pets. “I can’t even begin to tell you how much it means to everyone who has been affected by this tragedy,” says Nelson. “It’s amazing to see the outpouring of support from strangers.”