Many New Jerseyans who had to evacuate their homes as a result of Hurricane Sandy and the nor'easter didn't have time to grab their pets and unfortunately, had to leave them behind. Now they're anxious to be reunited.

Mario Tama, Getty Images
Mario Tama, Getty Images

The Humane Society of the United States and other responding agencies have rescued more than 200 animals in Monmouth and Ocean counties.

The HSUS and volunteers with Red Rover have been caring for the animals at emergency animal shelters while search and rescue operations continue as calls come into the animal emergency hotlines.

Now, the response effort is beginning to shift to bringing pets and owners back together.

"The bond between people and their companion animals is incredibly powerful and the pet owners affected by these two devastating storms are desperate to be reunited with their beloved animals," said Laura Maloney, chief operating officer for the HSUS. "The Humane Society of the United States is happy to provide care for these animals while their owners get back on their feet, but it's most heartwarming to be able to place these animals back in their owners' arms."

"Currently, we are caring for 195 animals at a temporary location in Ocean County and 45 at a temporary shelter in Monmouth County," said Kathleen Schatzmann, New Jersey state director for the Humane Society of the United States. "These animals are from evacuees and ones we rescued from calls that were made to the hotline. We do have addresses and contact information for all of the animals we have in our care and our goal is to reunite them with their owners. Many people may not have the means to pick them up immediately, so, we will be here until we can get them reunited. If people may need long-term fostering, we're coordinating that too."

"We have had more than 50 pets reunited with their families, which is wonderful. Each one is a joy and brings a tear to our eyes as we're watching. It's heartwarming to see the owners who have lost so much see their animals for the first time. They didn't want to lose their animals on top of everything else," said Schatzmann.

The animal emergency hotlines in New Jersey and New York continue to field calls from displaced pet owners concerned about the safety of their animals. Anyone who left their pet behind should call the hotlines. Their information will be shared with responding agencies and search and rescue teams. St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center, Monmouth County SPCA and Animal Welfare Association are assisting.

The New Jersey Hotline number is 1-855-407-HSUS. Ocean County residents who may be looking to locate their pets can call 609-384-0306. That number is for Ocean County residents only.

For more information and updates, visit them online.

More From Cat Country 107.3