Animal Writes
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23 September 2001 Issue
The Forgotten Victims

by Michelle Rivera - [email protected] 

In the rush to assist those who may be buried underneath the remains of the World Trade Center, rescuers have been unable to turn their attentions to animals who had been left behind in evacuated areas. Many of them were home alone when the attack took place, their families all gone to work and school, so they were left in areas where their families were not allowed to go for several days.

Animal rescue organizations in and around the New York City area responded by mobilizing to the site so that they could be in the area the very moment the police allowed guardians to run to their homes for a few minutes to collect a few belongings, including companion animals. PeTA sent three vehicles to assist in persuading Mayor Guiliani and the police and fire officials not to add to the tragedy by allowing animals to die when their deaths are preventable. Admittedly, the area was not safe for people to get in, and the rescuers had their hands full with helping victims who still could be saved. But Rue McLanahan, in a passionate plea to the office of the Mayor of New York City, called on building superintendents to help animals whose families may not be coming home, not only at ground zero, but in any areas where folks may commute to the city to work.

"Supers are the ones who know who comes and goes. If someone hasn't been back to their apartment, or if dogs who normally don't bark or whine start doing so, please go in and give water and food and make a call on their behalf," Ms. McClanahan says. "PETA and other groups have people standing by to provide foster homes, and the dearly beloved animal members of those who died must not become another part of the casualty toll. America is a nation of caring people, and our compassion does not stop with our own species."

As we hear stories of unbelievable courage and bravery coming from this horrific event, no doubt the stories will also include stories of animals, both tragic and heroic, and we should not let these stories go unnoticed. The day the New York Stock Exchange re-opened, they allowed firefighters and police officers to "ring the bell." Among these people was Officer Linn, a canine officer who was buried beneath the rubble for five hours. He was found and rescued, but not a word was mentioned about what had become of his partner, a German Shepherd Dog who had been the resident bomb-sniffing dog at the World Trade Center prior to the attack. Regrettably, the dog had perished in the rubble but that his story was not told is affront to the hundreds of search and rescue dogs who are risking their lives to help us find survivors, remains and cadavers.

A guide dog led his blind guardian down 70 flights of stairs, despite having been given a direct order to "go away." He and his guardian were both saved because of this dog's bravery. A companion dog died when he followed his guardian out a window five floors above the rubble.

We have all opened our hearts and wallets to help the victims of this unspeakable tragedy, and we should continue to do so. However, the animal organizations on the front lines are too busy rescuing dogs to be asking for money. They don't have the Red Cross or the United Way to do it for them. So we at Animal Rights Online are asking that animal rights activists and animal welfare advocates come together united in a common cause, to remember the animal victims of September 11, and that the organizations that are helping them are most deserving of our support and our trust at this most critical time.

Following are some contacts through which you can give or receive help with animals. (There may be problems reaching some of them by phone.):

Manhattan Center for Animal Care and Control 24-hour hotline

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

212-876-7700, ext. 4450
212-876-4120/4121 (animal placement)
In response to the World Trade Center disaster, the ASPCA has placed a fully-equipped mobile veterinary unit on the corner of Houston St. and West St. at the Hudson River in NYC. For more updated information, you can call the ASPCA Disaster Relief Hotline at (212) 876-7700 ext. 4700.

410 E. 38th St.
New York, NY

Hearts and Homes for Homeless Dogs
4810 Surf Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11224
(Mel and Roseanne—rescue dogs available)
[email protected] 

The Fund For Animals
Have-a-Heart Clinic
355 W. 52nd St. (between Eighth and Ninth avenues)
New York, NY

Brooklyn Center for Animal Care and Control
2336 Linden Blvd.
Brooklyn, NY
NYCACC - Dear Friends...

Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition
253 Wythe Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Suffolk County SPCA
Lois Gross: 631-382-7722
Web Site:

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