Volunteers Rescue and Foster 150 Cats After Deadly Shelter Fire

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A few frightened residents waiting to be picked up to go to foster homes
Photos via Facebook



Eight Feline Souls Perish in Fire, Over 150 Rescued

On Saturday, September 14th Mid Hudson Animal Aid (MHAA) in Beacon, NY, home to 164 abandoned and abused cats and kittens, experienced an event that anyone in animal care dreads: a fire. At approximately 11am, shelter staff smelled the strong odor of smoke coming from one of the rooms and quickly discovered that there was an intense fire raging. The effected Isolation Room housed those animals that were recovering from or receiving medical treatments for various ailments.

Due to the swift actions of Shelter Manager Audrey Lodato and her staff, all humans were unharmed and a majority of the 160+ feline residents were saved. Sadly, eight feline souls were lost and three additional cats were rushed to the animal ER at Hudson Highlands Veterinary Medical Group in Hopewell Junction, NY where they remain in critical condition in oxygen tents. One of these animals, Twinkie, was resuscitated on site by Beacon Fireman Gary Simmonds. Those lost today were: Cassiopeia, Stuffin, Floopey, Daniel, Pieces, Sadie, Sparkler, and Atlas. Six cats initially remained at large in the woods behind the shelter.

The animal care community immediately pulled together to support MHAA through this crisis. MHAA would like to express its gratitude to: Veterinarians Twila Whitefield and Holly Kalba, and Vet Technician Autumn from Hudson Highlands Veterinary Medical Group who arrived on site to lend assistance; the Roosevelt Animal Hospital in Beacon who also arrived on site to lend assistance; Animal Kind, Pets Alive, Hudson Valley SPCA, Ulster SPCA and the many volunteers who showed up to assist in evacuating cats and setting up emergency foster care, as well as clean-up operations.

Additionally, in the midst of all this activity, a cat was surrendered to the shelter that required emergency amputation surgery due to a compound fractured leg, and two small kittens were dumped at the MHAA site.

By Sunday, all but two of the missing cats had been found, and by Monday the three cats from the isolation ward who survived the fire were taken off the critical list.

For more, and for continued updates, visit Mid-Hudson Animal Aid at Facebook.

To donate, click the link for the : Fire Ravages Cat Shelter Isolation Ward donation page at Petcaring

The organization has raised over $14k toward its $20 goal in the two days since the fire.

Other than the Petcaring page, donations can be mailed to MHAA, 54 Simmons Lane, Beacon, NY 12508, or can be made through Facebook or  PayPal.

Donations of needed items include: primarily wet cat food, and towels, dry cat food, litter, cleaning supplies can be delivered to two temporary drop-off locations currently being used: 18 Slocum Road and 35 Boyce Street, both in Beacon, NY.


Mid-Hudson Animal Aid tells the story of the fire and how the cats were helped in this video:


Triage outside the shelter


Assessing the damage


Isolation Room damage
Isolation Room damage


Ruby and Phoebe- 2 of our cats at their temporary location- Pets Alive in Middletown. They are doing well, but are frightened
Ruby and Phoebe- 2 of the displaced cats at their temporary location- Pets Alive in Middletown. They are doing well, but are frightened



FMI … a look at Mid Hudson Animal Aid Cat Sanctuary – MHAA, from 2010:

Pete Seeger, folk legend and Beacon resident narrates portions of this story of Mid Hudson Animal Aid: ‘a loving home for abandoned cats’. MHAA is a no-kill, free-range cat sanctuary in the Hudson Valley of New York State.

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