As Hurricane Sandy dumped four feet of sewage into the All Creatures Veterinary Hospital, in Long Beach, L.I., last week, Willie the resident house cat took refuge high on a ledge. But today the brave survivor remains trapped in a cage in unfamiliar surroundings, and is crying for a new home.
“He’s a great cat. We’re just hoping someone will take him in,” said Dr. Lewis Gelfand, whose 10,000-square-foot veterinary hospital was destroyed by the storm.
Willie is among the untold numbers of the area’s animals that were displaced because their homes were destroyed, or were left behind when their families had to evacuate.
Among them are dozens of lost and stray animals that have landed at the New York City Animal Care and Control Shelters.
One of the most heartbreaking is Sandy, an 11-year-old yellow Labrador who was found standing in the lobby at St. Johns Hospital in storm-ravaged Far Rockaway. The senior dog remains on identification hold at the ACC Brooklyn shelter.
Animal rescuers are concerned that Sandy and the many other cats and dogs at the city-run shelter will have no chance of being reunited with their owners. And they worry they will be euthanized if nobody claims them.
“Half the people don’t have phone, electricity or gas to look for their animals or identification to prove they are the owner,” said one well-respected animal rescuer familiar with the shelter situation, who asked not to be identified.
“How are they supposed to find their animals?” she said, noting that owners are required to show proof of ownership.
On Thursday, one owner reportedly stormed out of the Brooklyn shelter because she could not pay the $190 fee to claim her mastiff, sources said.
On Friday, 119 cats and 112 dogs were in the stray and lost database. ACC operations manager Richard Gentles said the shelter will waive the claim fee and extend the hold period for animals found near or in affected disaster areas.