Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – Victims of the recent flooding in Madison County weren't allowed to bring their pets to shelters. Many relied on family members to provide a safe place for animals.
Wanderers' Rest Humane Association squeezed in several pets at their shelter, which was already full. Workers thought they'd be able to send animals home in a few days, until they saw the extensive damage in Oneida first-hand.
As donations piled up, Wanderers' Rest packed a van full of food, litter, bedding, and treats to hand out on Monday.
After days of working to clear his daughter's basement, Dan Meacham was relieved to get a helping hand with pet supplies.
"At the end of the day, we finally take a break, ‘Oh we forgot the cats.’ So, that was a life saver right there, just for the cats so they can have some food too you know," said Dan Meacham.
The van continued door-to-door in areas where many families had to send animals away.
"Right now they can't be in their house and their dogs are kind of like spread out amongst other family,” explained Andrea Lasher, who was gathering pet supplies for her mother and father-in-law. "She's going through chemo and radiation, so it is kind of tough for her to be out and about at all."
Wanderer's Rest has plenty of food and litter donations according to Executive Director Mark Christensen. He says they need money to help pay workers who are providing care for the animals at the shelter. The association also agreed to provide some medicine and free vaccinations for animals in flooded areas.
"Especially with all the dirty water that they've been in, they are definitely going to need some vaccines to make sure they don't get sick." said Christensen.
Some families forced to leave quickly, weren't allowed to bring animals into rescue boats.Initially access to flooded neighborhoods was restricted, so many homeowners were unable to check on pets for days. Some animals are still unaccounted for.
"We couldn't get in until Sunday. When we did, she was traumatized and took off and I haven't seen her,” said Alberta Russo, who has been missing her cat since the flood. "She was 16, she's been with us since she was a baby. So, she's been with us a long time."
"The outpouring has been immense. We have so much right now that I need to unload this to fill up again and come back down. So, it's nice to see that actually does exist in humanity,” said Christensen
The shelter at Wanderers' Rest is full and they're hoping people will consider adopting pets to clear more space for animals displaced by the flooding.
If you want to donate, adopt, or become a foster family, call (315) 697-2796 or visit the Wanderer’s Rest Humane Association website
for more information.