Storm pets

Egg Harbor Township residents Marlene Watts and Cedric Rice say their four dogs have less room to run around after trees fell in their yard as a result of Saturday's storm.

Staff photo by Joel Landau

In the past few days, Marlene Watts has seen a number of trees fall down in the front, side and back of her home on Washington Avenue.

And though it has not led to any damage to her home, it has been a problem for her four dogs, who have lost the place they used to run around.

“They’re out of their routine,” the Egg Harbor Township woman said. “When they see all of this, they don’t want to go outside. Not even for the bathroom — we have to make them go.”

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As the third day without power — the third — passed Monday, many pet owners are concerned about the toll the storm is taking on their favorite animals.

Watts’ boyfriend, Cedric Rice, said the downed trees and high temperatures have caused a lot of anxiety for the animals, and some of the dogs have been unable to sleep with the lightning and thunder.

Leslie Riedel, assistant manager for the Cape May County Animal Shelter, said the shelter received about eight older dogs over the weekend as strays. She said she thinks owners sent the dogs to the shelter so they could get out of the heat.

But Riedel said the shelter is full and it’s difficult to add any more pets.

To help their pets in the heat, owners should give them lots of fresh water and keep them in the shade, Riedel said, adding that garages and basements also would be cooler for the animals.

Riedel said residents should treat their pets as they would treat themselves.

“We need shade, liquids and to keep cool,” she said. “(The animals) are the same way.”

Representatives from the Atlantic County Animal Shelter and the Cumberland County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals did not return calls seeking comment.

Various cooling centers have been made available on a day-to-day basis in Atlantic County for residents to get out of the heat, but not all the locations take in pets, county spokeswoman Linda Gilmore said.

“If the normal policy is they do not accept pets, that would apply,” she said.

Somers Point City Hall was open for residents Monday as a cooling center, but Mayor Jack Glasser said the building could not accommodate pets.

“It’s tough,” he said. “There are a lot of people in need. We’re trying to help everyone.”

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