Shelter Staff Weathers Hurricane Sandy


Officer Sosa Braves the Storm

No matter what is going on in the outside world, there is no “downtime” in the animal welfare industry. The Pennsylvania SPCA shelters hundreds of homeless dogs and cats that require care every day. Hurricane Sandy brought treacherous weather conditions to the Philadelphia area this week, prompting the Pennsylvania SPCA and hundreds of other businesses to close their doors to the public. Inside the Pennsylvania SPCA, however, daily operations continued as normal.

“Our employees’ dedication and commitment to the animals in our care is remarkable,” said Angela Messer, Director of Operations for the Pennsylvania SPCA. “They know that the animals are relying solely on us.” Key staff, including kennel attendants, medical personnel, and humane law enforcement officers, put aside their personal safety for the greater good and reported to work on both Monday and Tuesday. Many volunteers also braved the weather to come lend a hand.

Humane law enforcement Officers Greg Jordan and Darlene Sosa got to experience Hurricane Sandy first-hand as they drove through the city, investigating reports of pets being left outside to fend for themselves. “We got a lot of calls from concerned neighbors about dogs outside,” said Officer Greg Jordan. “Unfortunately, weather doesn’t change certain peoples’ behaviors and that’s why we can’t change ours. It’s a 24/7, 365 days a year responsibility that we take very seriously.”

The Danville branch of the Pennsylvania SPCA, located in Montour County, also prepared for the worst despite being further from the coast. Outside enclosures for dogs and horses were secured and essentials like food, water and hay were heavily stocked. Melonie Bushaw, Shelter Manager, went above and beyond by actually spending the night at the shelter with the animals in case anything was to go wrong. Sabina, a 6 year old mixed breed who is terrified of storms, was very grateful for the company. “She did great!” said Bushaw.

Sabina Spends the Night with Shelter Manager

“Unlike other types of businesses or industries, we can’t simply lock the doors and wait for things to return to normal,” said Jerry Buckley, CEO of the Pennsylvania SPCA. “Hundreds of animals depend on us to be their protectors and provide for them regardless of the conditions. While I am impressed by everyone’s efforts, it didn’t take a storm to demonstrate the dedication and commitment of our staff and volunteers. It is in evidence 365 days a year.”