Hastings Racecourse has become a hub of help for all those impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle.
With an animal shelter set up upstairs and household goods donations sitting downstairs, the racecourse is doing everything it can to help the community.
Hawke’s Bay Racing CEO Aaron Hamilton said he opened up the Hastings Racecourse as there were a lot of people in need.
Along with helping feed people and collect donations, they have also set up one of the biggest animal shelters in the area with help from Helping You Help Animals New Zealand (HUHANZ) and the SPCA.
Pets, livestock and other animals have been some of Cyclone Gabrielle’s hardest-hit victims, and over the past few days, the shelter has witnessed some of the most heartbreaking and heartwarming stories of families reuniting with their pets after losing everything.
From as small as goldfish to as large as horses and cows, the shelter has housed up to 30 animals at a time, but they expect to have many more to come.
If you are looking for a lost pet or need somewhere to house your displaced pet while dealing with the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle, HUHANZ CEO Carolyn Press-Mckenzie said the racecourse shelter is the best place to go.
Press-Mckenzie said she thinks that as people get to go to their homes, they’re going to find their animals, but they still might not have accommodation for them.
Along with HUHA and SPCA, the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s animal rescue programme officer Rob Leach flew into Napier to help with ongoing animal search and rescue.
Leach and a veterinarian emergency resource team have been going into flooded homes, getting animals off roofs of buildings and top storeys of houses.
As you can expect, the rescues have been very emotional.
”These animals are coming back to us completely covered in silt and floodwater so we have to decontaminate them as the silt can be very toxic for animals as they lick themselves a lot,” Press-Mckenzie said.
After being decontaminated, the animals are settled with beds and blankets and kept safe until they can be reunited with their families.
For those who aren’t sure about leaving their pet, the shelter has an open-door policy so people can come in and spend as much time with their pets as they want, Press-Mckenzie said.
“People will just be in a spin. There is a hell of a lot of human stuff to sort through and they just want their pets to be safe so that’s what we can do, we keep them safe.”
There are still a few fish, a few cats and two chickens looking for their owners.
If you are looking for your animal, check the HUHA Facebook page as they post about the animals in their care daily. https://www.facebook.com/HelpingYouHelpAnimals
People can also find updates on the Racecourse Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/HawkesBayRacing
The animal shelter is welcoming all animal supply donations but is in particular need of any old towels that can be used to help clean up the animals brought in.
The racecourse has a lot of horse feed and hay constantly coming in that they can then get out to those in need across the Hawke’s Bay equine sector.
Animals aren’t the only ones finding refuge a the racecourse, for the past few days - the racecourse has been also been offering hot food, hot showers and wifi for people in need.
Re-Source is at the racecourse working hard to get supplies to the communities that need the most and welcoming all donations of bedding, clothing, and household supplies.
“It’s all hands on deck, and everyone has a smile on their face and if you want to drop any supplies to Re-Source, drop them down to the Hastings Racecourse,” Hamilton said.