Popcorn Park continues to assist in locating pets and reuniting them with their owners after Hurricane Sandy, General Manager John Bergmann said.
“We started getting calls to get animals people left behind,” he said.
The nonprofit animal rescue organization has traveled across the Jersey Shore, including Seaside and Long Beach Island, to save everything from hamsters and ferrets to dogs and cats.
“They’re still rescuing now,” he said. “They’ll be doing it for a while.”
By the time Popcorn Park arrived at the homes, the storm surge from Sandy receded.
Dogs were territorial, he said.
“You’re a stranger,” he said. “They’re scared. Their owners aren’t there.”
Some of the homes were severely damaged and there were times they had to go through windows, Bergmann said. Once the dogs were brought to the truck, they calmed down.
“Then they were happy we took them,” he said. “They would be licking our faces.”
They had to go hunting for the cats, which would hide, he said.
“They’re not as cooperative,” Bergmann said.
Most of the animals were brought to the Toms River North shelter and some were reunited with their owners. Those that are not eventually claimed will be brought to an animal shelter, he said.
“When you see the reaction of the owner, they’re overwhelmed. The dogs are so excited. It makes everything we’re doing worth it,” he said.
Bergmann could not say how many animals they rescued.
“You start to forget what time and day it is,” he said. “We hope to get all of the animals out of the coastal areas. There’s not a lot of protection there.”
The facilities and animals at Popcorn Park fared well through Hurricane Sandy. Branches and trees fell but none struck buildings. All the animals were taken in and cared for prior to the storm, Bergmann said.
Popcorn Park is accepting donations—dog and cat food, cleaning supplies, towels and blankets—for those animals that are being rescued. Pet owners who need supplies can also stop by.
“We’re accepting and giving out,” he said.
The nonprofit is also taking pets in temporarily while owners get back on their feet.