A Brooklyn emergency shelter for pets of New Yorkers affected by Hurricane Sandy run by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is now preparing to shut down.
The ASPCA boarding facility at 1508 Herkimer Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant has housed nearly 280 animals since opening on November 17, thanks to a half-million-dollar donation by celebrity chef Rachael Ray.
Officials say the shelter is winding down operations, but there is not a set closing date yet.
More than 100 pets have been reunited with their families but many remain at the shelter. ASPCA is now urging those owners to reclaim their pets, before they have to be put in foster care.
In the Broad Channel part of Queens, Kathy Fessman was unable to care for her seven dogs while contractors worked on her home to fix damage caused by the storm.
"The fuel tank flipped over. Fuel was coming through the floors. I had about two feet of water in the house," Fessman said.
Fessman's pets stayed at the ASPCA shelter until she could bring them home Sunday.
Asked what it was like to live without her dogs, Fessman said, "That was the worse part. It was the worse part, but they're home. They're home now."
Mary Beeson of Staten Island also had to bring her dogs to the emergency facility after she was displaced by the storm.
"We were wiped out over by Midland Beach in Staten Island and we had nowhere to go with the dogs. We were homeless ourselves," Beeson said. "It was the longest two months of our lives and we definitely missed them, but they were in good hands and they're coming home and we're glad to have them back."
ASPCA officials said while unclaimed pets will eventually enter foster care or be adopted by other owners, the agency prefers to reach long-term solutions with the pets' original owners.
"The goal is to get pets reunited with their families. We also have a number of families that are not in a position to take their pets home and we're working with those families to find additional, long-term solutions," said Tim Rickey, the senior director of field investigations and response at ASPCA.
To reach the center, call 1-347-537-9935 or visit nycacc.org.