NEW YORK, Aug. 27, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today released its first-ever 360-degree video (aspca.org/disasters) putting viewers virtually on the ground in the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Croix, as responders work to care for animals impacted by Hurricane Maria in 2017. Viewers will witness a variety of efforts, including rescuing and reuniting displaced pets, providing emergency sheltering, and flying homeless animals to the U.S. to find safe and loving homes.
The ASPCA utilized the 360-degree technology to give viewers a deeper insight into the rescue work than an article or traditional video can provide, as well as inspire them to take greater preventative measures to protect their own pets during disasters.
"While there have been vast improvements in disaster preparedness for animals in recent years, experiencing a disaster first-hand helps people truly understand the importance of planning in advance," said Dick Green, senior director of ASPCA Disaster Response. "By giving pet owners an inside look at our emergency response operation via 360-degree video, we hope to further inform the public about the impact disasters situations can have on animals and inspire them to prioritize their own preparedness plans."
Last year, Hurricane Maria devastated the U.S. Virgin Islands and severely damaged St. Croix's only animal shelter, St. Croix Animal Welfare Center, causing it to temporarily shut down its daily operations. Through the 360-video, viewers will witness the hurricane's devastating consequences, including demolished buildings, scattered debris, and animals abandoned on vacant properties. They will also see ASPCA responders go door-to-door offering assistance for any pets that may require medical care, providing critical supplies such as food and water, and providing emergency sheltering for displaced pets.
At the request of FEMA and the Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture, the ASPCA remained on the ravaged island for more than three months, working around the clock to rescue companion animals – including cats, dogs and horses – assisting a total of nearly 22,000 displaced animals. ASPCA veterinary and behavior experts provided critical support for displaced and homeless animals until they could be reunited with their families or transported to the States to find new loving homes.
This project was generously supported by Nylabone®, which has assisted ASPCA rescues by providing critical enrichment supplies, including chew toys and other pet supplies for animals at ASPCA's emergency shelters.
The ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team deploys nationwide to assist in relocation, search-and-rescue, sheltering, and placement of animals during disaster situations including wildfires, tornadoes and floods. In addition, they work closely with local agencies across the country to help enhance their animal response capabilities through grants and training opportunities.
To watch the 360-degree video and learn more about what pet owners can do to prepare for a disaster, please visit www.aspca.org/disasters. The video can also be viewed via headset and it is recommended that users check the platform settings for playback.
About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) was the first animal welfare organization in North America and continues to serve as the nation's leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA is committed to its mission of providing effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.