Hurricane Response

How AWS is Helping Animals Affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

Watching the devastation in Texas and Florida is heart-wrenching for all of us. Our thoughts are continually with those affected – human and, of course, animal.

You may remember stories of animals being turned away at emergency evacuation shelters during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Tales of people refusing to evacuate because they could not bring their pets are haunting. Fortunately, the heartbreak of that time prompted swift action in Congress. By 2006, pets were required to be included in municipal disaster plans to receive federal emergency grants and federal funds were authorized to assist in setting up pet-friendly evacuation shelters.

At AWS, we’re keeping a close eye on developments in Texas and Florida as they happen – and we stand by ready to help. Being so far away from the affected areas, it’s unlikely that we would receive any animals directly impacted by Harvey or Irma. However, what that does mean is that we need to help our southern animal transport partners more than ever to keep kennel spaces in their shelters open and ready for those that are directly impacted.

What We’re Doing:

  • Continuing our mission of finding loving homes for homeless animals as quickly as we can. By getting animals into new homes, we open kennel spaces for more animals in need.
  • Staying in close communication with our transport partners in the southern United States. We’re planning for additional transports of animals from their catchment areas to Maine, ensuring that their kennels remain as open as possible.

What You Can Do:

  • Adopt! Now – more than ever – is the perfect time to add a new pet to your home. When you adopt an animal from AWS, you’re opening a space for a new animal to arrive, setting up a domino effect across the country.
  • Sign up to be a volunteer foster family with AWS. We still don’t know how everything will play out in the days, weeks and months of recovery. By signing up now, you’ll be ready to go should we need to call on you for help.
  • Make a plan. Disasters can strike at any time. Use this opportunity to ensure that your pets have visible identification and a microchip. Ensure that your microchip’s information is up to date. Keep vaccination records for your pet on hand, sealed in a zip top bag. Prepare a “go kit” including a crate with your phone number attached, a small bag of food and a week’s supply of any medications your pet may need.
  • Give. Supporting a local and trusted organization ensures that your help is being used wisely. Assisting AWS financially or with supplies ensures that we’re available for our transport partners, and in turn, that they are available for Texas’ and Florida’s pets.

We’ll keep you updated as efforts continue to unfold. Thank you for all that you do to help animals – here and across the country.