How You Have Helped Pets Affected By Hurricanes
by Lee Chambers
Your support of Dakin makes great things happen. Animals being transported here from hurricane-ravaged southern states are getting a fresh start, thanks to you.
When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, followed by Hurricane Irma which unleashed destruction in Florida, shelters were already swelled with pets that had been waiting for adopters. It became imperative to transport those shelter pets to other places that could take them in, freeing up space at affected shelters to handle the animals that would be displaced by the storms.
Dakin has been taking in many of those shelter pets over the past several weeks, thanks to our partnerships with organizations such as Operation Pets Alive (OPA) and the Aiken County Animal Shelter in South Carolina. Just before Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas on August 26, 12 animals came to Dakin via OPA. Another 13 arrived soon afterward, then another dozen who arrived later in September. Dakin received seven dogs/puppies and nine cats/kittens in response to Irma’s damage from Aiken, plus 14 cats and kittens that came from Florida and South Carolina through St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in New Jersey.
Our in-house animal population was already pretty full when the new arrivals joined them, so the word went out to Dakin Nation to encourage adoption. We’re happy to report that since Harvey hit Texas, 423 Dakin animals have gone home, including 57 who were adopted during our one-day $5 Feline Adoption event on September 22. That’s an impressive figure!
The heightened animal population at Dakin also put a significant strain on food reserves and other resources, but Dakin Nation has been incredibly supportive. A recently Facebook request for donations of canned cat food brought forth a huge quantity of goods which has been put to use in feeding many of these pets.
“Anytime you adopt an animal, it’ll have that ripple effect,” says Dakin’s Executive Director Carmine DiCenso. “You take home a pet, and it opens up a cage or kennel so we can take in an animal from a disaster site. You end up saving two lives…the one you adopt, and the one who can come north and get their chance to find a family.”
When disasters strike, DiCenso notes, there are usually several phases. “Stage one is when shelters reach out beforehand -when a disaster is predicted - to ask for help. Stage two is moving animals already in shelters to make room for those who will be displaced by the storms and damage. Stage three is finding homes for those displaced animals and helping them get back to their families.”
We extend our deepest thanks to those who provided much-needed food for our pets, and those who have adopted a new furry friend to help make room at our adoption centers in Leverett and Springfield.