Sandy Forces Few Immediate Equine Evacuations

Superstorm Sandy, whose winds tore up the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, N.J., and flooded the New York subway system, seems to have immediately displaced more humans than horses. But the storm's actual impact on horse owners might not be realized for days, some emergency responders say.

This past weekend, Hurricane Sandy began its trek up the Eastern seaboard of the United States. On Oct. 29, the storm made landfall on the New Jersey shore and by that evening, storm connected high winds and surges pushed Atlantic waters inland onto streets in New Jersey, Maryland, and New York, leaving millions without power. Though the storm stretched small animal shelters to the limit, horses and livestock appear to have weathered the storm well, said Roy Gross, director of the Suffolk County SPCA in Long Island, N.Y.

"We did issue evacuation warnings for livestock, but (those animals) are already located farther inland," Gross said. "We haven't heard of any horses that were displaced."

In Maryland, one owner anticipated the storm on Monday and place five horses in stalls at the Fair Hill State Park in Cecil County. On Oct. 30, park manager Wayne Suydan said their stay would be short.

"Their owner, who is from the Philadelphia area, was worried about flooding," Suydan said. "Those horses were expected to return home today."

Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, Michele DeVinney Schmoll, volunteer coordinator for the U.S. Equine Rescue League, for Virginia and North Carolina and an administrator of Facebook networking group HorseEvacuationsEast, said that seven horses were forced to relocate after high winds and waters connected to the megastorm tore the roof off and brought flood waters into their Doylestown barn.

"At this moment, I don't know of any (widespread) displacements or injury to horses," Schmoll said.

Though equine storm-related displacements seem minimal, Schmoll warns that it will take days to assess superstorm Sandy's real impact.

"Many people are without power and phones in the area of where the storm hit, so we won't know (the real impact) until they are back in communication with the world outside their area," Schmoll said.

Disclaimer: Seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian before proceeding with any diagnosis, treatment, or therapy.