The organisations will also evacuate lost and displaced dogs and cats, and work to reunite families separated from their pets. HSI and H/3 Foundation are working to secure airlift and logistics to bring lost and stray animals from the BVI to shelters in the United States, while setting up local BVI veterinary clinics to provide emergency care and treatment for animal victims. Because many people in BVI, like caring individuals everywhere, find it extremely difficult to evacuate without their beloved pets, HSI and H/3 Foundation will work to immediately facilitate the travel certifications required for such animals.
Spencer B. Haber, H/3 Foundation's founder and chairman, commented, "The BVI has always been a special community of generous and resourceful people, with a deep connection to the magical place they call home – and with the animals who share that home. Since I first visited many decades ago, the BVI and its people have favoured us with their friendship, hospitality and grace. So it is now our honour to be able to give something back – both in addressing an urgent, immediate need, but also as the first step in working together as a community to rebuild an even better BVI in the coming years. Having come to know the BVI spirit over the last 30+ years, I am confident that this community will emerge from this tragic period even stronger than it was before."
"The devastation seen in these islands is heart-breaking," said Adam Parascandola, director of animal protection and crisis response at HSI. "With almost all buildings badly damaged or gone, we know Hurricane Irma has affected many animals, including pets and farm animals, as well as the human population of the BVI. Following disasters, we typically find lost and bewildered animals, suffering from injuries, hunger, and dehydration/shock, and in need of immediate care. Our emergency responders and veterinary specialists have already started to evaluate the animal-related needs and challenges on the ground and will help to evacuate pets as needed."