Hurricane Irene may have left town, but days after making landfall, its effects are still being felt by both the animals we are working so hard to protect and even PETA headquarters itself.
As PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange highlighted last night on CNN's Issues With Jane Velez-Mitchell, our full-time animal rescue workers are hard at it in the hard-hit regions around PETA's home office in Norfolk, Va., where we sustained winds that surpassed 70 miles per hour and where trees still litter the landscape. Thankfully, while cleanup after the storm's shocking damage to our headquarters building continues (https://secure3.convio.net/peta/images/content/pagebuilder/Photo08280757.jpg?c=causeshir0811), it hasn't hindered our team's lifesaving work in areas devastated by the storm.
PETA's Emergency Response Team has fielded dozens of calls and e-mails about animals in crisis. From taking in a dying kitten soon after the storm passed to responding to multiple calls about baby squirrels thrown from trees or found inside fallen ones, following Irene's violent winds, our team has been quickly responding to reports whenever they learn of an animal in need.
After one such call from Animal Services in the city of Newport News, a PETA fieldworker helped 12 dogs and puppies who were simplyleft behind in a flood zone (http://www.peta.org/cfs-filesystemfile.ashx/__key/CommunityServer-Components-ImageFileViewer/CommunityServer-Blogs-Components-WeblogFiles-00-00-00-01-48/1050.AC.bmp_2D00_465x0.jpg?c=causeshir0811) while the hurricane was at its worst. After rescuing seven of the dogs, police ordered the fieldworker out of the dangerous area. Five of the terrified puppies fled under a nearby deck too narrow to crawl under, so our fieldworker opened a garage door and propped open the gate to the yard to allow the puppies to escape if they came out. Thankfully, all five were saved the next morning, and charges are pending against those who left these animals to face this deadly storm alone.
The situation for Mr. Jones—the elderly dog pictured here whom we've been telling you about on our blog (http://www.peta.org/b/thepetafiles/archive/2011/08/30/mr-jones-adapts.aspx?c=causeshir0811)—has greatly improved, and he's been enjoying all the affection he's received since he was taken in. PETA is right now working to re-home Mr. Jones and another gentle dog, Nikita, who was left outside for three days with no protection from the elements.
While the worst of Irene's devastation has passed for many, we will still be responding to the aftereffects of this massive storm—and rescuing even more animals in crisis as a result—for days to come. And with more than three months of the Atlantic hurricane season ahead of us, the dangers faced by animals over this last week may well be repeated in the near future. If you haven't already done so, please take a few moments to plan for the animals in your own life before a disaster like Irene becomes a threat to...