New Bedford Animal Control Officer uses vacation time to save displaced animals in Louisiana

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WLNE) – New Bedford Animal Control Officer Manny Maciel is stepping up in a big way, using his own vacation time to volunteer in Louisiana and help save animals displaced from the hurricane.

“This is my vacation time. When I do this, I take my vacation time to come up and assist. It’s rewarding,” Maciel said. “These are people that have been hit… we’re just doing what we can.”

Maciel says the experience has been humbling. He’s been there for two weeks searching for animals displaced from Ida, caring for them, and looking for their owners. Those who aren’t claimed will get shipped to shelters across the country for adoption.

“There are a lot of animals that need assistance. Either their owners haven’t come back or their houses are totally destroyed,” Maciel said. “We have brought in a lot of animals that are very thin.”

The team with American Humane is currently caring for 85 animals. Most days, they’re working from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. in sweltering heat. Many areas are still without power nearly a month after the hurricane hit.

“You definitely don’t have the comforts of home. You end up sleeping in cots or blow up mattresses,” Maciel said. “I could be back home and sleeping really well, but these folks here need our help.”

Residents like Richard Barber are still recovering from the storm, but thankful for the help from all over. Barber and his family are so thankful they cooked dinner for Maciel and all the volunteers.

“We took about three trees on or around our house,” Barber said. “You’re not going to receive help unless you help yourself and you help others.”

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