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After Hurricane Irene: Day 4

Our latest reports from the field

Animal Rescue Team Field Notes

Get up-to-the-minute pet information in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene on our Twitter pageUse #Irenepets hashtag for the latest. | Donate to help animals affected by Irene


UPDATED Aug. 31, 10:29 p.m. EDT

From our state director in Vermont:

The team returned to the Red Cross shelter in Wilmington today. We had a veterinarian working at the Halifax shelter, and she accompanied us in order to provide vaccinations and flea treatment for dogs staying at the now pet-friendly shelter. We also provided the same to a cat who was formerly staying at the shelter with her owners, who have since found housing.

The Red Cross shelter is relocating to another area, since school is scheduled to open next week. We were assured that it would remain pet-friendly. We will be bringing more pet supplies once they relocate.

We have set a trap for a pet sugar glider who was spotted under a ruined business downtown—the area hardest hit by the storm. A cat who had been reported wandering was reunited with her owner yesterday. No other animal requests have come through the shelter at this time.

Back at the Halifax shelter, at the request of the owner our veterinarian (a mobile spay/neuter vet) neutered one of the six cats we are currently housing. The pet owner is still looking for housing. We will continue to monitor animal needs and provide support as needed.


Michelle Riley/The HSUS

UPDATED Aug. 31, 1:15 p.m. EDT
From our magazine assistant managing editor, Michael Sharp, on the ground in North Carolina:

Jennifer Potter awoke early Saturday morning, Aug. 27, to flood waters creeping across her yard. She raced around her home, picking things up off the floor and packing them onto bookcases, counters, and tables. "It just kept rising up,” she said of the water. “It started coming up on the porch, and then it came in real fast. … I just couldn’t pick things up fast enough.”


The furniture started floating. The refrigerator turned over. Her two dogs—Labrador-beagle mixes, Finn and Pebbles—sought higher ground on the backs of furniture. Eventually, Potter grabbed her two cats and set them down safely on a king-sized mattress that was floating in a bedroom. Read the rest of the story, and see the photos»

UPDATED Aug. 31, 10:01 a.m. EDT

VIDEO: Animal Rescue Team brings pets to safety in North Carolina:



UPDATED Aug. 31, 10:30 a.m. EDT

From our Animal Rescue Team on the ground in North Carolina and Vermont: 

North Carolina
Field rescue starts again today, but it is difficult to know how many animals will eventually be cared for in our shelter. This county suffered a grave loss, and yet there are many clear signs indicating how residents care about their animals even in the face of devastation. Many families did not have the resources to evacuate with all their animals, or are returning and have nowhere to live, and are now enormously grateful for our assistance. One family our Rescue Team spoke to—and took in animals for—had dead crabs littering their lawn, clearly indicating the scope of the flooding.   

Another family was willing to care for a rescued horse and dog while we located the owner. And one five-year-old girl walking around with her cat Flower glued to her, was very happy we could help her animals, including her pug Sweet Pea.  When her family understood we were in the community to help pets displaced because of the storm, they were more than willing to let us take care of their pets at our shelter, while they struggle to find someplace to live. Overall, the community is enormously grateful for our being there to help animals in need. 
We’re making up flyers with our local assistance 800 number, and with information about the emergency shelter, to be distributed in the county.


Want to Help? Text LOVE to 20222 to donate $10 to support our Disaster Relief Fund as we work to help pets affected by Hurricane Irene.

We are working with municipal, Red Cross and National Guard officials in Wilmington, Vt., and partnering with the Vermont Companion Animal Neutering Clinic, to offer assistance to people who had to evacuate their homes because of historic flooding in the state (particularly in Wilmington).  
We have an emergency shelter set up near Brattleboro, Vt., that is still being used to house dogs seized from a recent puppy mill raid and is now available to house animals displaced because of the flooding impact of Hurricane Irene. So far the shelter is caring for six cats from families who had nowhere to go with their animals (in addition to 55 dogs from the puppy mill raid). We continue to be available to other families who may need help as the flooding impact continues to be felt. 
With the support of the Vermont Companion Animal Neutering Clinic, we are offering to provide pet food and supplies to evacuated families impacted by the flooding, and we have offered to do search and rescue for animals with the National Guard.  In Wilmington, which suffered devastating flooding, we plan to set live traps for cats who are displaced and in need or care.
As of Tuesday evening,  The HSUS checked in with the National Guard stationed at the Red Cross Shelter in Wilmington, and there are no reports of additional pet needs. A black and white cat was spotted in one of the local businesses, but we suspect he is an owned cat who is simply wandering around. He’s in good shape.  A local person was able to get  a photo of him which they are going to advertise, and we have also set a live trap in the area where he was spotted.

North Carolina

Yesterday, five members of the Rescue Team started the first formal day of field recue in Pamlico County, N.C., in response to devastating flooding there.

The team met with ACO Berkley Hill at 8 a.m.to do further assessment of the situation for animals in the county, and to respond to calls from families concerned about their pets left behind when they were forced to leave.  The team made sure animals found to be in acceptable condition had food and water, and lead responder Rowdy Shaw worked with Berkley to develop a field plan to prioritize the most urgent needs in the county.
The Craven County Fairgrounds is now fully functional  as an emergency shelter and has capacity to hold 80 dogs and 60 cats. 

On Thursday, PetSmart Charities will be sending supplies and a 4-person team, which will increase capacity at the shelter to accommodate 300 more animals—for a total of 440 animals—if needed.  We can also take in five horses, depending on their sex, but all livestock calls will go to the county and we intend to care for them in place.

The New Bern shelter that housed the dogs from the two dogfighting raids is now cleaned up and broken down, and the dogs have been moved to the fairgrounds. We essentially will be running two shelters at the fairgrounds—one for the dogs seized in the recent dogfighting raids, and one for animals displaced because of Irene.

See more photos on Facebook »
See yesterday's field notes, photos»

Seven dogs, five cats, a bird, a turtle, a horse, and a rabbit were rescued and brought into the shelter today, joining 16 other animals previously rescued. The animals will get vet assessments and necessary vaccinations starting tomorrow. The owners of all animals at the shelter have been identified, except for the 11 hound dogs rescued yesterday (and featured in our video). 

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