Dog that went missing in aftermath of Hurricane Sandy found hours before being put down

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Buster, a Ridgeback-shepherd mix, went missing from his home in New York City weeks after Hurricane Sandy Hit. For weeks his family searched for him. On December 12th Buster was hours away from being euthanized at Animal Care and Control when a family friend spotted his picture of Facebook.

In mid-November construction workers were assessing the damage from Hurricane Sandy in Buster’s neighborhood of Belle Harbor, Queens. Buster’s owner, Christine O’Donovan, wasn’t home at the time, but when workers arrived to assess her damaged home they spooked Buster and he escaped from his home.

The O’Donovan family desperately searched for their dog. Christine had originally rescued Buster last June when he was found abandoned and tied to a pole. The family was determined to get him back. Even after they were forced to move to temporary housing in another area they continued to search. O’Donovan called Animal Care and Control, but unfortunately they had Buster listed as a pit bull mix. After weeks O’Donovan wasn’t sure she’d ever find him, “But I was still hoping someone found him and that he was in a good home.”

On December 12th Kim Fraser, a friend of O’Donovan, was on the Facebook page Urgent Part 2, a nonprofit that advocates for “Death Row Dogs”, when she saw Buster’s face. Buster had been at the shelter for 8 days and was scheduled to be put down the next morning. Fraser desperately tried to get in contact with O’Donovan. Finally late at night she was able to reach her. “I knew it was him immediately,” said O’Donovan. “I broke down in tears because I didn’t know what to do at that point.”

The Animal Control and Care shelter was closed but O’Donovan was able to put Buster on hold through their online system. O’Donovan didn’t sleep all night not knowing whether her online request had gone through. First thing in the morning she and her five children arrived at the shelter to find Buster still alive. “He was jumping around and happy,” O’Donovan said. “As soon as I saw him I started to cry.”

Buster’s wasn’t the only lie saved that day. While reuniting with Buster O’Donovan spotted a puppy pit bull mix named Nicko. She couldn’t bear to leave him behind and brought him home. Nicko is available for permanent adoption through Fraser’s rescue group Sasha’s Mission.

3 thoughts on “Dog that went missing in aftermath of Hurricane Sandy found hours before being put down”

  1. If you have lost a dog in the New York City
    area, you MUST go in person to look for your dog.
    Animal Control does not make an effort to
    Identify missing dogs, and any information
    you get on the phone is likely to be wrong.

  2. This story made me cry, for so many reasons.

    It is also an excellent example of why no one, I mean NO ONE can identify a breed by their looks, particularly with mixed breeds. People think there is some mythological full proof list of criteria that can accurately identify pit bulls but anyone who defends such a ridiculous list is clearly biased toward the breed as it is only used to malign these dogs.

    It is also disturbing that the workers who spooked Buster are not trained or required to immediately notify animal control and the owner when they inadvertently cause a dog to escape a yard when they are inspecting a property, if only to make the owner’s desperate search known by everyone in the area so that Buster would never have been so close to being euthanized. I realize that the area is still a disaster zone but anyone working in the area needs to be cognizant of the animals that are affected as well.

    I too am an advocate for chips which is critical for pet recoveriy as we have seen countless times.

    So many things went wrong here but I am so glad O’Donovan has such good friends looking out for Buster and that he is safely home with his family. It is also wonderful that Christine rescued the puppy. Maybe in a twist of fate it was all for a good cause to save this little fellow.

    Best wishes to the whole family and friends and to Buster who thank goodness is safely home.

  3. no one can say now that f/b is useless, for many a reason it can saves lives, help lonely ones searching for a friend, and the best, it saved Buster from death row..many thanks to a good friend and facebook…


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