Before Superstorm Sandy blasted the Jersey Shore, many families made the difficult decision to leave their beloved pets behind.
Amazingly, more than two weeks after Sandy storms ashore, rescuers were still finding animals alive in badly damaged homes.
“Never before have I dealt with something like this,” said Jim Bowen with Toms River Animal Control.
Some of the homes were so badly damaged that rescuers couldn’t even get to the animals to help. On a front porch of an Ortley Beach home that became filled with water and is now surrounded by sinkholes, four cats rode out Sandy.
“I found them all healthy and safe,” said Bowen.
Since the storm, rescue groups have worked together to save hundreds of stranded cats and several dogs and even a cockatiel from homes on the battered barrier island sections of Toms River Township.
“It’s very overwhelming but very satisfying and gratifying to find this many animals and the amount of animals that we found alive,” said Dale Beley with Toms River Animal Control.
Of course not every pet they find is alive but rescuers say the have been surprised by how many animals they have helped.
The cats and bird found Thursday joined more than 200 other pets from throughout Ocean and Monmouth Counties that have been separated from their owners and taken to an emergency animal shelter in Barnegat.
“There are quite a number of people who unfortunately just aren’t in a position to take their animals back,” said Katie Hansberry with the Humane Society of the United States. “A large number of the owners know that they’re here… and any of the animals that we have contact information for, we’re reaching out to them.”
The Humane Society will continue to care for the animals until families are able to reunite with their animal storm survivors.
To support The Humane Society’s work in this and other disasters, please donate online, call 866-720-2676 or text ANIMALS to 20222 and donate $10 to support The HSUS' Disaster Relief Fund. Standard messaging and data rates apply