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NAVAL AIR STATION SIGONELLA, Sicily — When disaster strikes, sometimes the pets are forgotten.

Such was the case after a destructive flood hit Naval Air Station Sigonella on Wednesday, and two or three dogs drowned after families left them tied up in front and back yards, said Robin Anton, president of the Sigonella Animal Welfare Society.

“Some have been left in homes, without electricity, kenneled,” she said Monday after returning from a funeral held for a small dog mauled to death by another dog that had broken free from under dilapidated fencing.

Anton cautioned pet owners to be mindful of behavioral changes, because the pets, too, have experienced a traumatic situation.

“The characteristics they had before this might not be the same characteristics now,” she said. Anton and volunteers nightly visit the military housing complex of Maranai, where flooding Wednesday forced the evacuation of about 475 families, to let out dogs at their owners’ requests or leave food for others who remain in people’s yards.

Even in the face of disaster, abandoning one’s responsibility is not an option, the base commander, Capt. Joe Stuyvesant, cautioned residents at Monday’s daily town hall meeting after residents reported seeing dogs left unattended for days. “If you have a pet, you have a responsibility to take care of the pet,” he said.

Most of all, the society, best known as SAWS, is looking for residents who can provide foster care for pets whose families from Maranai, at the NAS II base, have been evacuated to places that do not accept pets.

The society also needs kennels, blankets and towels, she said. Anyone interested in helping may call 333-789-7254.


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