Rescuers travel across Auckland to help animals during floods

HUHA working in Auckland.

An animal rescue group from Wellington made the long trip up to Auckland during its spell of bad weather and floods to help pets, animals, and their owners.

The group, who work for Helping You Help Animals (HUHA), travel to areas affected by natural disasters so they can help animals in need.

The group set out from Wellington with a bunch of gear and livestock trailers so they could rescue farm animals.

In Auckland, the group helped provide support to around 30 animals, ranging from livestock to household pets.

HUHA trucks in Auckland.

One of the things the group did while in Auckland was helping to relocate farm animals to safer grazing areas so they weren't washed away by floods.

"When people are caught short, they don't have anywhere to take the animals, or they don't have a float or a trailer to carry the animals, then we jump in and do that," HUHA chief executive Carolyn Press-McKenzie told 1News.

She said it's incredibly important to be able to get this kind of work done.

"So many animals get washed away, so being able to jump in and grab the ones at risk, we think, is really important."

A cow HUHA rescued.

Looking out for pets was also important. The group travelled from welfare centre to welfare centre, ensuring that those who had to evacuate their homes were equipped to look after their animals.

They handed out food and blankets obtained through donations and offered support and advice to those who needed it.

"Sometimes people are in a situation where there in the welfare centre, and they don't quite have what they need to look after their animals, so we were just making sure everybody had what they needed and were comfortable."

HUHA employees travel across the county responding to disasters, and Press-McKenzie said that compared to other places, not as many Aucklanders needed support. But those who did needed a lot of it.

"There were about 30 different people that needed help, but they all really needed it."

Press-McKenzie told 1News about a sick puppy whose owner was unable to get it the medical care it needed. The group helped the owner and got the puppy that care.

A puppy HUHA helped to save.

"It was really rewarding," she said.

She said HUHA employees had to do a lot of problem-solving while in Auckland, as some people didn't want to leave their homes or send their pets to a shelter.

"Some of the people that didn't want to send their animals to a shelter didn't want to leave their homes, so actually the relationship between animal and human can put people at risk.

"It was a lot of problem-solving to try and work out how to best make them okay with strangers, basically taking their pets and caring for them."

Press-McKenzie advised that should floods strike again; people can best help their animals by reaching out to groups like the SPCA, animal control and HUHA — even if your pet isn't registered.

"A lot of people are worried that they'll lose their pets if they bring them in, but the SPCA and animal control are offering free microchips so they can be safe."

She also encouraged communities to work together during these kinds of events.

"If people see families struggling, make sure they've got a cage to put their cat in, make sure they've got a vehicle or a way to get that animal away safely."

Press-McKenzie also noted that the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is incredibly helpful, with the SPCA also working with them.

HUHA has since left Auckland but has encouraged locals to contact the SPCA for any animal-related needs.

"SPCA is keeping in close contact with Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) who coordinate the emergency response for animal displacement in these situations," the SPCA said in a statement.

"SPCA is working with numerous agencies to ensure that animals in the affected area receive the help they need — be it advice on how to locate a lost pet, supplies, or where to reach out to for help."

They too, are calling for the community to come together to support pets.

"Once the state of emergency is lifted, we will be seeking anyone in a position to help to get involved in providing this support to our community — whether donating for the animal care packs or helping to package everything up," they said.


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