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Their slogan is “One Pet at a Time,” and six months after Superstorm Sandy, a grassroots social media group is still working to reunite lost animals with their owners and find homes for displaced dogs and cats from the Rockaways and beyond.
Trish Lane, one of Hurricane Sandy Pets Lost & Found’s administrators, estimated that about 15 to 20 animals still need to be adopted. Some of the pets’ owners have been located but could not or did not want the animals back, while others’ families were never found.
Dixie Louviere, the Facebook group’s creator, said she started the page because she witnessed the effects of Hurricane Katrina on four-legged creatures in her home state of Louisiana.
“When you have a storm like that, there are so many things that could happen,” she said. “The windows could blow open, the door could blow open, your pet could get out.”
With many shelters throughout the country filled to capacity, Louviere wanted to highlight the stories of pets displaced by Sandy.
Floyd, a young male pitbull mix, was spotted with a broken leash and collar in Far Rockaway, and an online poster for the pup said he was swimming in the water and trying not to drown in November. Floyd’s family had evacuated to Connecticut, leaving him behind, and the dog is currently up for adoption at Best Friends in Bedford, NY.
Then there is Mr. O’Malley, a 6- or 7-year-old Chow mix picked up in Rockaway Beach and now being held at Aberdeen Kennels in Frederick, Pa., as well as Odee, a brindle and white American Staffordshire Terrier mix found in Far Rockaway and brought to Animal Care & Control’s Brooklyn location in February. Lane worries that Odee could be euthanized if not adopted soon.
“I would guess somebody took him in and just couldn’t take him and took him to the shelter,” she said.
Two-year-old Tuna, a black and white tuxedo cat, is up for adoption through Infinite Hope Animal Rescue Group in Brooklyn, after her Rockaway owners were given housing that didn’t allow for pets. Two other cats in the house where Tuna lived drowned when flood waters surged during Sandy.
And a pair of Calico cats – Amy and Angie – are also being housed at Infinite Hope after spending two weeks following Sandy in a partially flooded home in Far Rockaway. The similar felines were adopted but had to be returned to the rescue group after their new home didn’t work out.
After the storm, the Hurricane Sandy Pets posted fliers created by Rosalie Carlson online daily and helped to coordinate foster care with organizations like Seer Farms in New Jersey and Sandy Dog Nannies of Vermont for owners who needed time to get back on their feet before taking back their animals.
Organizers said the group has reunited about lost 200 furry friends with their families so far, and they are still searching for pets that went missing during and after the storm. One volunteer combs through online listings, including Craiglist, for critters that resemble ones that still haven’t been found.
Members, who are spread out across the country, try to check in with pet owners once per month to see if the cat or dog was located, but now that half of a year has passed, some owners assume the worst. The page’s three main administrators work out of Long Island, New Hampshire and Louisiana.
“It’s getting to the point that calling these families is too upsetting,” Lane said.
Still, others hold out hope that man’s best friend will return.
George Jacimovic’s dog Molly escaped from an apartment near Beach 118th Street when a friend was watching her Nov. 6 while he was at work.
“My first thought was how could that happen?” he said.
The Boston Terrier-Jack Russell mix was the Rockaway firefighter’s only pet and Jacimovic papered the neighborhood with fliers and reached out to several animals rescue groups in hopes that the 3 ½-year-old dog would be found. The pup is very friendly and is microchipped with his contact information, he said.
“At this stage of the game, either someone is holding on to her or she is dead,” he said. “I wouldn’t believe she is roaming the streets.”
Molly is one of about 20 dogs featured in Hurricane Sandy Lost & Found Pets’ album for dogs missing from New York and organizers, as well as Jacimovic, believe one day Molly could turn up.
“I just keep hoping she will show up at one of these shelters and she will get checked,” Lane said.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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