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A Helluva Night for Animals

Written by PETA | August 28, 2011

It’s Sunday morning. Our building is in tatters, and two of our vehicles have cried “Uncle,” but we have two more vehicles, and they and our emergency rescue efforts are still going strong. We are all so glad to keep getting the calls. Last night was very hard indeed: Our journeys took us into dark, deserted streets without traffic lights, deep in water, all bridges closed, tunnels and many roads impassable, tree limbs blowing about like kudzu. It took us longer to go a mile than to go five on a good day. We often had to turn back to find a new route through to our destination, as cars were abandoned, their lights below the water. But it was a successful night for some animals! I shan’t tell you about them all, as we are leaving again now, but here are just a few of our rescues.

Just before dark, some wonderful person called in about this scared dog, named Nikita. The winds were nearing 70 miles per hour. He had been in this pen, with only one sheet of wood above him for “shelter” for three days. His people had left town. He came with us. That’s his “after” picture. We will be looking to talk to his people, and they are on the list of those we hope to see in court. And, no, we will not be returning any of the animals who were abandoned to their own devices.

Nikita’s PETA staff foster parents report:

He is a real trooper. He was so happy to be inside. He warmed right up to us, and within an hour, he was running around like he’d always lived with us. We even played tug of war! He laid on the couch, the floor, the chair, with us … wherever we were, he was. At one point, he heard a noise at the door, to which he promptly growled at the possible impending intruder to scare them off and protect us, even after humans had wronged him.

At midnight, I was at a Motel 6 with another PETA staffer. Members of an indigent, caring family, who had no apartment to call home, were holed up in a leaky room as their pit bull puppy, named Prada, lay dying of Parvo. She was barely 3 months old, and they clearly loved her. Thirty-six hours earlier, they had scraped together the money to take her to the vet. The vet had taken their cash and pumped the little tyke full of intravenous fluid, but it should have been clear that she had no chance, and he should have told them then. Now, she was in misery, crying, and the family was desperate, asking us to please relieve her of her suffering. Her guardian said, “When I saw tears streaming from her eyes, I knew I had to make the call.” Unable to lift her head, she was cuddled on our lap all the way back to our building before she was put to rest.

Early this morning, just as the water receded, leaving us to survey the extent of the damage to our building, a call came in from a fire department. A dog had wandered in, old and covered with mange, and collapsed on their floor. The firefighters were lovely to him, giving him more love than he must have had in his whole life. The marks of where he once had had a collar are around his neck, and he has more sores than hair. He is now on our couch in the big quarantine room, sleeping after a welcome meal.

Thank you to everyone for asking about us, to the staff who stayed in the swaying building all night (“It was like the earthquake all over again”), all the people who did not evacuate but stayed to take calls and go attend to them, and our vice president in charge of emergency response, Daphna Nachminovitch, who was out all night and had to swim the final block home, her waders no longer tall enough to keep the water out, (up to her waist!), the road too deep to drive through, only to be called out again. Thank you to the staff and volunteers and interns who made calls for three days straight to get people to take their animals inside; to Director Pete Raffeto and his operations crew, who provided everything we needed; to everyone out there now trying to remove the debris; and to so many more. And a huge “Thank you SO much!” to each one of you who has given to PETA’s Animal Emergency Fund. If you haven’t been able to donate yet, please consider that even a small donation will help with our rescue efforts during Hurricane Irene and beyond. We love you all!


Written by Ingrid Newkirk

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  • Dolores says:

    I was dining with a few scientific types recently when I mentioned I supported PETA. Good grief, what fury rained down on me. The meal abruptly ended. What a shame, these folks have no idea what they are missing. Thanks PETA for all you do. God bless, indeed.

  • Faely says:

    Thank you so much for loving the animals enough to put your own lives in danger to save them. People often tell me they think your methods are too controversial to be effective. I tell them that sometimes the only way to get things done is to hit someone over the head with the issue in question, find some way that gets their attention. They say you preach one thing and do another by euthanizing more animals than you help. I tell them that sometimes humans have been so cruel that the kindest thing you can do for the animal is ease his pain. I say keep up your wonderful work. You guys rock!

  • Kristine U says:

    This email had me in tears. How could a human being leave behind a beloved pet?? Don’t they consider these animals to be a part of their family? I have a dog and two cats and I can’t bear the thought of anything bad happening to them, I love each one so very much. Shame on these people for being so cruel!!! I hope and pray these people are punished for their sick ways.

  • karen says:

    words to describe PETA? courageous, kind, compassionate, brave, gallant, selfless, wonderful angels on earth! GOD BLESS PETA in every way, everyday! and God’s WRATH and VENGENCE on those who abandoned helpless, trusting animals! they deserve the worst life can slap them with!

  • Lisa says:

    Hurray PETA, thanks for being there for these animals.

  • Linda A Levy says:

    Peta never fail to amaze me whenever I read of everything they do to rescue & help animals in disasters etc, they are an absolutely brave & compassionate organisation. God bless all the Peta team for caring

  • Denise says:

    even though i might not agree with you on every thing. you guys are the ones that turned my views about certain issues around. peta you are true saints for these animals that do not have a voice. one day you will be rewarded greatly for all the things you too for helpless animals. blessed is he who takes care of his animals. thank you so much :,)

  • Pat says:

    Thank you for all you do for animals. How people can abandon their animals and especially in pens with no way to get out and get shelter is beyond me. I hope they get some jail time for doing that.

  • Rebecca says:

    Thank you for rescuing animals that needed it during this storm. Why on earth were they left behind? It was not like it was during Katrina where folks could not/were not allowed to take their animals with them.

  • LisaJ. says:

    I am so grateful for all the efforts of Peta and other animal welfare organizations who are there to rescue and give another life to animals who are victims of abuse and neglect. So disgusted and alarmed by the cruel, irresponsible sick people who are the cause of all this rescue work- and very sad for then many who never get help. Thank-you Peta!!!! <3

  • joyfull gardens says:

    Many heartfelt thank you’s to all of you wonderful PETA angels!

  • Zaida Jorat says:

    Thank you all for your hard work.

  • Teri says:

    Thank-you PETA for all you do each and every day for the animals whom would otherwise have to continue to go through inhumane treatment by insensitive people who only care for themselves. Two wrongs don’t make a right but I would like to get a hold of some of these people and teach “them” a lesson they wouldn’t soon forget!

  • rhonda says:

    Thankgod for you goodhearted people that save these poor animals from disasters like this. I do give to the ASPCA but I would love to at least send PETA a gift FOR ALL THEY DO. Godbless!

  • lauren says:

    Thank you PETA for having compassion and risking your safety for these precious dogs!

  • Phillip Ferrell says:

    This is one of the reasons this is such a great country. Love is free here, for all animals as well as people. Thank you PETA.

  • Mary says:

    Those who leave their babies behind should never have any kids at all!! The furbabies are for life. It is expected to bring them where ever you go in case of any emergency!!! This is a no brainer.

  • twixcookie says:

    Thank you for doing what I can’t do because of my job. I reviewed the Silver Springs Monkeys last night, and how it all started with that, that hellish side of our planet. I still thought that “researcher” should have suffered more for what he did to the monkeys. Thanks for doing what you do, you are all very brave.

  • Gillian says:

    Thank you for all you do. I always stop when I see animals in distress – it doesn’t always work out, but most of the time rescue is possible. Millions of animals need you and me to stop to help or make a call to someone who can. I hope PETA continues to grow and network with those who can influence the public even more – who knows, maybe there’s an engineer or architect or general construction contractor who would be willing to pro bono a model rescue facility, or someone who would provide a suitable dedicated site. Perhaps Habitat for Humanity would team with PETA for the purpose of preparing a habitat for those other animals who need shelter. Perhaps, perhaps….perhaps one day cruelty to animals will not exist.

  • Arvind Devalia says:

    Wow! Amazing stories of love and dedication to your duty and calling. Wishing you all the best over the coming hours and days – hope you can all rebuild your lives and the PETA center as soon as possible:-)

  • Natalie says:

    I was so concerned last night for all of the animal heros who braved the elements! Thank you for all that you do! God bless you and all of the helpless creatures that you rescue from thoughtless in humane people!

  • DEBORAH says:

    THANK GOD FOR PETA AND INGRID NEWKIRK! Those poor animals would be God Knows where, without the dedication of you and your wonderful staff. Thank you for all you do and I will send out a donation, very soon.

  • Marcia says:

    After being concerned for animals for years and learning of the brutality of people towards so many unfortunate creatures, I often despair about the human race and wish a herd of elephants had stampeded over the first hominids who evolved in our direction. Then I hear about the heroic efforts above and believe there is hope. May karma come to all the good souls who helped the helpless.

  • Laurie H says:

    God bless you ALL and So Many Thanks—- more than words can say, PETA!I LOVE YOU!!~

  • Kitn says:

    I’m so glad you’re involving the court system, it’s what they deserve. i’m rooting for you guys and will pray for your success in winning this case. These gentle animals deserve better. Thank you for protecting them. I pray alot at Church about all animals in the world that are being slaughtered, abused, abandoned, traumatized in one way or another, I pray for it to just stop. I want them to know what love and peace is, it’s what they deserve and have more than earn that kind of life. Good job you guys and thank you for doing what I physically can’t.

  • Britta says:

    Thank you PETA for taking care of the animals during the hurricane. I am still in disbelief that people would just abandon their precious family members. It’s hard to wrap my head around that. Thankfully, their are compassionate and resposible people out their that actually made provisions for their animals. Thanks again PETA and volunteers for once again taking care of the precious animals! (:

  • Deb says:

    Thank you for all you do for these precious animals. I will continue to stay as proactive as possible. Keep me posted on events in the Palm Beach County, FL area! Thank you PETA, so proud to be associated with your organization.

  • Cheryl Jay says:

    Thank God for PETA, for helping the animals that have been deserted by their humans during a hurricane. Some humans are so stupid and inconsiderate. And the stupid people leave their pets should never again be able to have another animal again.

  • suzi floress says:

    Thank you PETA!! You are angels for these animals!!! Shame on owners for leaving their pets. Thank you so much for being the saviors you are!!

  • Jeanie says:

    Thank you seems so insignificant a word to use, but I do thank you from the bottom of my heart that hurts so to think of all poor unloved, uncared for, deserted ‘kritters’. Thank you for caring and all you do for them.

  • SALLY says:


  • Klara says:

    You ALL are HEROES and ANGELS in one person! Thank you so much for your work!

  • Mj says:

    THANK YOU, to all who put their life on the line to go out in such horrible conditions to save these poor babies. How scared they must have been. Please follow through with prosecuting the ignorant, heartless people who just left these poor animals behind. I don’t understand how someone can be so heartless and cruel. THANK YOU, YOU ALL ARE ANGELES TO THOSE YOU HAVE SAVED AND THOSE WAITING TO BE SAVED.

  • Sandra says:

    As I sit here comfortably in my apartment in Los Angeles surrounded by my darling 3 Poozers, as I call the kitties (that’s Eensy, Beensy and Teensy to you), my eyes just filled with tears and my lip is trembling as I read this amazing post. There are NO WORDS sufficient to express my gratitude for everything you do, all the lives you save, both animal and human (my life was saved by these rescue kitties). May God or whatever higher power there is shower every blessing that exists on each and every one of you.

  • Candice says:

    Thank God for these wonderful people who save so many helpless creatures. How heartless can humans be – what kind of people leave a sweetheart like Nikita in a pen without food or shelter.. SHAME on them what goes around comes around in this world.

  • IrishEyes7902 says:

    I had to work during the earlier parts of the hurricane in Franklin VA. I had already decided once it started getting bad that if I couldn’t make the 20 min trip home by car I would park it where it was and walk the rest of the way. And I had my 4 dogs safely inside in my bedroom. But I was not gonna leave them w no one to walk water or feed them and would have walked through a hurricane for them. I of course made it home safely and all is well with them 🙂 I wish everyone could have the loving compassion for animals that you do. I look at it like this, if you wouldn’t want to go through it why put them through it. Cudos to you guys and don’t forget about us here in Franklin when the flood waters start to rise on Monday/Tuesday. I was sad yesterday at work when I saw a small skunk trying to run for cover in a field that had no cover. The ditch overflowed and ran him out.

  • Karen says:

    Thank you just doesn’t seem like enough for ALL that you guys do!! So glad that your out there though, & that these precious pets will NOT be returned to these idiot people!

  • priscilla Peters says:

    A country is judged by the way we treat our animals. We are a failed society as a whole. Thank God for PETA and the Humane Societies across the land.

  • Alex says:

    Thank you for saving these poor helpless animals during this terrible time.

  • Mary says:

    Kudos to ya’ll. Thank you for your compassion.

  • Gail Goodman says:

    you make me so proud to belong and stand up for the organization. Each story warmed my heart. ny and nj shelters were to accept people and reason to leave a pet behind. We learned from katrina. thank god it was reduced to a tropical storm so you could do your work safely. each one of you is a hero and each animal found will be eternally grateful to you.

  • Gail Goodman says:

    you make me so proud to belong and stand up for the organization. Each story warmed my heart. ny and nj shelters were to accept people and reason to leave a pet behind. We learned from katrina. thank god it was reduced to a tropical storm so you could do your work safely. each one of you is a hero and each animal found will be eternally grateful to you.

  • susie says:

    THank you PETA -Many blessings from Michigan!

  • S says:

    Good thoughts, and wishes are coming your way. God bless all of you.

  • Chai'na says:

    You guys will be in my will. I hope that you DO win in court-any jerk that would leave a family member behind in any emergency should be persecuted big time. Thanks for what you do!

  • Aneliese says:

    The real heroes in this world are all of you at PETA. I am so amazed and honoured to support you.

  • Ananda says:

    Well done to all at PETA for being so brave and going out there to save these animals. Without going all gooey about animals, how can people just leave their pet tied up with no shelter and no means to run away and hide? It is mindless and unsensitive and denotes poor respect for others may they be animal or human. Again, well done PETA!!

  • Judi says:

    I worry if my animals are left out in a shower of rain, I cannot conceive of leaving them to their own devices in a hurricane. Thank God there are people who care and groups like PETA who do everything they can to save those animals so cruelly disregarded. I send my love and very best wishes x

  • anna says:

    Another example of why I love you. Thank you for all that you do.

  • ThousandBees says:

    I am constantly astounded by the cruelty some people are capeable of. Thank-you to the anonymous informant, and well done to PETA’s rescue efforts. I hold all animals and people in Hurricane Irene’s path in my thoughts and heart