Emergency response fund and Best Friends ground team and volunteers to ease suffering from Sandy

Transport and supplies right now the most pressing needs in the hardest hit areas.

Best Friends Animal Society, thanks to member support, is making funds available to help defray the extraordinary costs incurred by the companion animal rescue groups and other organizations saving and caring for pets impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

Supported by generous donations from the public and corporate partners, Best Friends’ relief efforts will target animals and shelters impacted by Hurricane Sandy across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Funds also will support the transport of displaced shelter pets to Best Friends Network Partners located outside of storm-affected areas, expected to begin in the next several days. Limited fuel supplies, road closures and driving restrictions in some affected areas are complicating factors.


The first such transport will be of animals from Animal Care and Control of New York City to Network Partners in New England and is expected to take place in the next several days. Animals will be moved in a Best Friends Emergency Response vehicle deployed for such purposes.

Shelters are eligible for micro grants to assist in repair and recovery from the storm, as are rescue organizations that have taken in animals from shelters impacted by the storm. Priority consideration will be given to shelters working with their community to achieve no-kill status. Details on how to apply for a grant can be found here.

Our Emergency Response specialists, John Garcia and Ethan Gurney, have been in the New York area since mid-week. John and Ethan are both expert dog handlers and have advanced certifications in animal search and rescue techniques that qualify them to work side-by-side with police, fire and National Guard human search and rescue operations. They are prepared to provide relief manpower as needed. The team also has a specially outfitted, climate controlled transport vehicle to move animals within the disaster zone and to distant receiving organizations outside the area affected by Sandy.

Soon, Best Friends volunteers will be helping to fill in work shifts at shelters, delivering pet food in Bergen County, N.J., Long Island and other areas, and provide pet supplies to a shelter in Woodbridge, N.J.

Our New York Programs team, under the leadership of Jamie Lyn Rubin, is coordinating our support of rebuilding efforts in the Tri-State area, which includes helping care for pets in an evacuation shelter and delivering emergency supplies to other flooded shelters whose supplies were destroyed. In the coming days, the team will:

  • Coordinate volunteers for the Sussex County, N.J. evacuation shelter to cover weekend and overnight shifts for the pet portion of the shelter.
  • Deliver wet food donated by our friends at Freshpet to the Bergen County Animal Shelter in Teterboro, N.J.
  • Organize shipments of dog and cat food, donated by Wag.com, along with other needed supplies to area shelters including the Bergen County Animal Shelter and the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter on Long Island. Both shelters are caring for pre-storm shelter animals as well as additional displaced pets. They are also offering food to hard hit pet owners in their respective communities.
  • Provide pet supplies such as collars, leashes and toys to the Woodbridge, N.J. shelter which was evacuated due to flooding but which has resumed operations. 

Special thanks to our online retail partner, Wag.com, which, in conjunction with Best Friends, has committed to donate a full week's worth of food for more than 200 dogs and cats, plus a week's worth of litter for more than 100 cats at the Bergen County Shelter, Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter, and Jersey City Humane Society. These much needed supplies are expected to be delivered to destination shelters by Best Friends volunteers today.

Wag.com is also launching a campaign starting today to raise funds for Best Friends’ ongoing disaster relief work. When a special promotion code WAGDONATE is included with orders, Wag.com will make donations to the fund up to $10,000.

If you would like to make a contribution toward our disaster relief work, please click here. Your gift will be used exclusively for our relief work to help animals during this and other disasters. Thank you.

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Every day, more than 9,000 dogs and cats are killed in America's shelters simply because they don't have a safe place to call home.

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