Hundreds of homeless dogs, cats and other four-footed hurricane survivors are finding new homes and comfort thanks to a joint initiative among territorial, federal and nongovernmental partners.
Teams from the New York City chapter of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) are working with the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture (VIDOA) at an emergency animal shelter established shortly after Hurricane Maria at the VIDOA’s facility on St. Croix.
With support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the ASPCA teams have provided comfort and medical care to more than 450 dogs, nearly a dozen cats and several large animals including horses, pigs and a donkey.
Thanks to the nonprofit group Cloud Nine Rescue Flights, nearly 100 homeless dogs have been carefully crated and transported to shelters in New York and Florida, where many have found new families.
Following a disaster, familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and many household pets become confused and lost. The visiting ASPCA animal control teams pick up domestic animals that appear lost or homeless, and they attempt to locate their owners. The unclaimed pets are made available for adoption. As part of their disaster response efforts, the ASPCA teams also collect animals that could present a risk to themselves or the public.
The ASPCA shelter on St. Croix will remain open until Dec. 31, when all remaining small animals will be transported to the mainland for adoption. Before that date, animal lovers on St. Croix are welcome to visit the shelter to adopt a new pet. It is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays at the VIDOA, No. 1 Estate Lower Love, Kingshill, St. Croix.
For more information and photographs about the efforts by ASPCA and Cloud Nine Rescue Flights to find homes for animals displaced by Hurricane Maria on St. Croix, visit www.aspca.org/news/aspca-and-cloud-nine-rescue-flights-partner-fly-animals-displaced-hurricane-maria.