Storm shelter for pets at college is full; shelters for people are not

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Dogs at the SPCA's storm shelter for pets at Suffolk Community College in Northampton

The local shelter for humans at Riverhead High Shelter had had about 120 people in it Saturday evening planning to ride out Hurricane Irene, most sent from Patchogue where there was no more room.

Meanwhile a shelter set up for pets at Suffolk Community College in Northampton was full.

The Suffolk County SPCA  set up two pet-friendly shelters in Suffolk County, one at the Eastern Campus of Suffolk Community College in Northampton and the other at the Brentwood Recreation Center, according to Chief Roy Gross of the SPCA. They are for people who decided to leave their homes during the storm but couldn’t bring their pets with them.

“At last count, the Brentwood site had only about eight animals, and they’ve got all the support services over there,” he said. “We got the majority of it here.”

He said there was no more room for any more pets at the Suffolk Community College site, and anyone seeking to shelter a pet should go to the Brentwood Recreation Center on 99 Third Avenue, Brentwood.

The Northampton site had about 40 pets sheltered there as of Saturday afternoon. Most were dogs and cats, but there also awerere a few birds and hamsters. They were all in cages.

The people sheltering their dogs at the Woodlands Building in SCC can take shelter at the Peconic Building on the same campus, Chief Gross said.

“We take a picture of them with their animal and get identification and they have to wear an arm band with their name and number on it. We want to make sure we know who’s responsible for each animal if somebody comes in to walk it or something,” he said.

The Eastern Campus also has the SPCA’s Mobile Animal Spay-neuter Hospital (MASH) parked outside the Woodlands buiding during the storm.

The pet-friendly shelters are staffed by the SPCA. “We’re here 24-7 for the duration of the storm,” Chief Gross said.

There are shelters for humans being run by the American Red Cross at Riverhead High School, Hampton Bays High School and several schools in Southold Town but those shelters do not accept pets.

Both Riverhead and Southampton Town have issued mandatory evacuation notices to residents in mobile homes and people living in low-lying areas near the water, although officials in both towns say they are not forcing anyone to evacuate.