SANDY’S DISPROPORTIONATE IMPACT

Encore: October 15, 2020

A local youth activist shines a light on how Sandy impacted low-income and minority communities much harder than others in the tri-state area, and what needs to be done now to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Aired on October 24, 2019.

TRANSCRIPT

> WHEN A MAJOR WEATHER EVENT STRIKES, ANIMAL RESCUE GROUPS GO INTO OVERDRIVE FROM FINDING TEMPORARY HOUSING FOR SHELTER ANIMALS TO RECONNECTING FAMILIES WITH LOST PETS.

ORGANIZATIONS LIKE BEST FRIENDS ANIMAL SOCIETY WORK AROUND THE CLOCK TO HELP THOSE WHO CAN'T HELP THEMSELVES.

MADDIE HAS MORE.

Reporter: BY THE TIME HURRICANE DORIAN WAS PREDICTED TO MAKE LAND FALL IN THE SOUTHEAST, BEST FRIENDS ANIMAL SOCIETY, A NATIONWIDE NON-PROFIT, DID NOT HAVE MUCH TIME TO MOBILIZE RELIEF EFFORTS.

SENIOR MANAGER OF EMERGENCY RESPONSE.

WE DON'T HAVE THE LUXURY OF WEEKS WITH HURRICANES.

IT'S LITERALLY DAYS AND SOMETIMES EVEN HOURS.

THERE WAS LITERALLY WORKING UNTIL THE VERY LAST SECOND TO GET AS MANY ANIMALS OUT AS WE COULD.

Reporter: A FORECASTED NATURAL DISASTER SETS OFF A CHAIN OF EVENTS FOR BEST FRIENDS.

FIRST AND FOREMOST THE ORGANIZATION WORKS WITH LOCAL PARTNERS TO HELP RELOCATE ANIMALS IN SHELTERS LIKELY TO BE AFFECTED BY THE STORM.

THESE BUILDINGS CAN LOSE POWER OR FLOOD.

AND AFTER THE STORM PASSES, SHELTERS NEED TO HAVE OPEN CAGES FOR STRAYS AND PETS SEPARATED FROM THEIR FAMILIES.

CLEARING POTENTIALLY AFFECTED SHELTERS IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT IN SO-CALLED KILL SHELTERS THAT PRACTICE EUTHANASIA FOR DOGS AND CATS CONSIDERED UNADOPT ABLE.

IF THERE ARE ANIMALS IN A SHELTER THAT IS NOT YET A NO KILL SHELTER, OFTEN TIMES THE EUTHANASIA WILL BE EXPEDITED SO THE SHELTER CAN MAKE ROOM FOR NEWLY DISPLACED ANIMALS.

WE WANT TO BE SURE WE'RE MOVING THOSE ANIMALS ESPECIALLY AT AT-RISK SHELTERS LIKE THAT SO THAT THOSE ANIMALS HAVE A CHANCE TO MOVE ON TO HOPEFULLY LOVING HOMES.

THE RELOCATION PROCESS FOR ANIMALS IN THE STORM'S PATH IS HIGHLY COORDINATED AND NO EASY FEAT.

FOR HURRICANE DORIAN BEST FRIENDS WAS ABLE TO COORDINATE THE TRANSPORT OF OVER 530 ANIMALS WORKING WITH 11 DIFFERENT GROUPS IN FLORIDA AND THE CAROLINAS SO WE WOULD BE ABLE TO GET THEM TO DIFFERENT RECEIVING PARTNERS IN THE NORTHEAST AND MIDWEST AHEAD OF NOR DORIAN'S IMPACT.

MANY PEOPLE GOT IN THEIR CAR AT THE LAST MINUTE TO DRIVE FROM FLORIDA TO THE CAROLINA TO NEW ENGLAND TO MAKE SURE AN ANIMAL WAS GOING TO BE SAFE.

ONE OF THE TEAMS TO MAKE THE JOURNEY WAS JERSEY CITY HUMANE SOCIETY.

THESE VOLUNTEERS DROVE A VAN DOWN TO A SHELTER IN DELAWARE WHERE CATS AND DOGS HAD BEEN DROPPED OFF AFTER THE FIRST LEG OF THEIR TRIP FROM THE CAROLINA.

IT CAN OVERWHELMING.

THEY'VE BEEN MOVED FROM ONE FACILITY IN EITHER NORTH OR SOUTH CAROLINA TO ANOTHER SPOT AND THEN PICKED UP AGAIN AND DRIVEN AND THEN MOVED HERE.

I FEEL LIKE THEY ADJUSTED REALLY WELL.

LYDIA SAYS IT'S GREAT TO SEE THE DIFFERENCE HER TEAM CAN MAKE IN AN ANIMAL'S LIFE.

ONE OF THE DOG WES BROUGHT BACK WAS ZOE.

SHE WAS CURLED UP IN A BALL IN THE CORNER OF ONE OF THOSE RUNS.

ANGELA WENT IN AND SAT WITH HER.

WE KNEW RIGHT AWAY WE WERE GOING TO TAKE HER AND SHE GOT ADOPTED VERY QUICKLY BECAUSE SHE WAS SUCH A SWEET LITTLE DOG.

LYDIA AND THE TEAM KNOW FIRSTHAND THE CHALLENGE ANIMAL SHELTERS FACE IN THE WAKE OF A NATURAL DISASTER.

JERSEY CITY, THE ORGANIZATION'S HOME, WAS HIT HARD DURING HURRICANE SANDY.

WE DIDN'T HAVE POWER.

WE WERE WALKING DOGS WITH HEAD LAMPS SOMETIMES.

STRAY DOGS HAD COME IN DURING THE HURRICANE.

SO, IT WAS A BIG ENDEAVOR HERE TO TAKE CARE OF OUR ANIMALS.

AND WE DID GET A LOT OF HELP WITH IT TOO.

AND A LOT OF OUR ANIMALS WENT INTO FOSTER HOMES THEN.

WE KNOW HOW IMPORTANT THAT IS WHEN A STORM IS COMING OR IN THE AFTER MATH TO MAKE SURE THE ANIMALS ARE SAFE.

FOR ONE TRANSPORT NAMED GARFIELD, TODAY WILL BE THE FINAL LEG OF HIS LONG JOURNEY.

HE'S FOUND A FOREVER HOME WITH BROOK GREENLEAF AND HER DAUGHTER HAILEE.

WE HAD ANOTHER ORANGE CAT NAMED GARFIELD ADOPTED AT THE SHELTER SO WE TOOK THAT AS A GOOD OMEN.

MOM BROOKE GREENLEAF ADOPTED HER FIRST CAT IN THE AFTER MATH OF HURRICANE ANDREW.

SHE SAID ADOPTING ANOTHER HURRICANE PET WASN'T INTENTIONAL BUT IT'S A HAPPY COINCIDENCE.

I THINK IT JUST HAPPENED THAT WAY, BUT THEY NEED US.

FOR FAMILIES LIKE THE GREENLEAF'S WHO HAVE PETS OF THEIR OWNS, THESE BEST FRIENDS SAY THE BEST PRECAUTION IS TO ID THEM WITH COLLAR AND TAGS OR MICROCHIP.

PEOPLE END UP SEPARATING FROM ANIMALS AND A LOT OF ORGANIZATIONS LIKE BEST FRIENDS WORK ON THE REUNIFICATION PIECE.

SO, THE BEST WAY TO BE ABLE TO REUNIFY WITH YOUR ANIMAL IN THE AFTER MATH OF A DISASTER IS HAVING SOME CRITICAL ID.

HAH LA WHO HAS WORKED IN EMERGENCY RESPONSE OF ALL KINDS FOR OVER 18 YEARS SAYS THE ANIMAL PIECE OF EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS IS OFTEN OVER LOOKED.

HAVE A PLAN FOR YOUR PETS.

THOSE PLANS COULD INCLUDE SOMEWHERE TO GO OR IF THE ANIMAL IS COMING WITH YOU THEN HAVING AN EMERGENCY BAG WITH CRITICAL SUPPLIES THAT INCLUDES FOOD, MEDICATIONS, EVEN VET'S CONTACT INFORMATION IS IMPORTANT.

A PRINT OUT FROM THE VET SHOWING A PET'S VACCINATIONS ARE UP TO DATE IS ALSO GOOD TO HAVE ON HAND.

FOR ANIMAL LOVERS LOOKING TO HELP OUT WHEN THE NEXT STORM IS PROJECTED TO STRIKE, MONETARY DONATIONS TO RESCUE GROUPS AND SHELTERS, VOLUNTEERING TO FOSTER DISPLACED ANIMALS, OR OFFERING TO HELP TRANSPORT DOGS AND CATS DURING EVACUATION.

THERE'S SUCH A GENEROSITY WHEN YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT ANIMALS, AND PEOPLE USUALLY JUMP UP TO HELP IN ANY WAY POSSIBLE.

I THINK YOU OFTEN SEE THE TRUE HEROES COME OUT.

AND THAT'S THE BEST WAY TO SAVE THEM ALL IS WHEN EVERYBODY STEPS IN AND DOES THEIR PART.

IN MANHATTAN, I'M MADDIE ORTON FOR 'METRO FOCUS.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

WNET

© WNET All Rights Reserved.

825 Eighth Avenue

New York, NY 10019