When New York City Animal Care & Control began sheltering lost pets after Hurricane Sandy’s destruction of the East Coast, cause leader Danielle Karr knew all too well what would result of their lives. After a certain period of time, the NYC ACC creates “To Be Destroyed” lists for pets unable to find a home. Danielle, reluctant to allow for mass euthanizing of pets, decided to act. Soon after Hurricane Sandy’s landfall, Danielle created a petition asking NYC ACC to halt their “To Be Destroyed” lists for the sake of families hoping to find their pets. After initially seeking 1,500 signatures on Causes.com, her petition has now attracted more than 50,000 signers, people who are adamant to help families reconnect with their pets.
Danielle, a native New Yorker living in Queens, emailed us this week about her experience during the storm. “Hurricane Sandy was devastating to New York, New Jersey and the surrounding areas. While we knew it was going to be a dangerous and powerful storm, the wreckage it brought was astounding.” Danielle’s experience with saving animals in the New York area precedes Hurricane Sandy. “A couple of years ago, a few of my neighbors and myself created DOG LIC, a community advocacy organization in Long Island City in response to issues we were encountering as pet owners. Through this group, I have become more involved with issues plaguing New York City regarding pets and animals.”
Hundreds of orphaned and abandoned animals made up the unreported portion of devastation in the city. Tragically, pets were left behind when families had to make the decision to flee their properties in haste. It’s this situation that Danielle hopes NYC ACC understands before making the decision to euthanize pets. “Hundreds of animals across the tri-state area flooded the shelter systems, and rescue and foster groups were inundated with requests for help…Every large and small rescue organization was on the ground saving and adopting out, with overcrowding in all, to put it in perspective. ASPCA spoke about picking up over 30 animals on one trip to Brooklyn and one Staten Island relief shelter housed 80 pets. So if every rescue organization and shelter was seeing 40 animals a day, let’s say there were a lot. Some were lost, many were abandoned and others dealt with the loss of their owners or their owner’s homes.”
In her opinion, one of the greatest obstacles facing her cause is NYC ACC’s lack of resources and organization to implement a no-kill strategy. “The system is broken all the time, but it was terrifying to see it after a disaster. Animal owners who lost pets were turned away because they didn’t have proper identification. Rescue organizations were unable to pull animals due to computer issues and animals were being destroyed in the Brooklyn and Manhattan centers without proper public notice.”
Danielle is confident real changes at NYC ACC can happen now that she has a large community full of supporters. She’ll be sending more than 50,000 signatures to action Director Risa Weinstock of the NYC City Council and Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer. Her hope? A little more compassion and less destruction of animals. “It’s possible for this city to have a no-kill shelter system, but it takes work, time and people who care. I think just spreading the word on the issues and making more people aware of what’s happening makes this petition a success, but I’m looking forward to the day where the “To Be Destroyed” list is a thing of the past.”
Find out more about Danielle’s cause and comment below to discuss your experiences with how you have dealt with pet safety during storms.