THIS week, PETA donated $2,500 to a fundraiser set up by Oakland, California resident Douglas Thron, a cinematographer and animal activist who recently used a drone to locate and rescue an abandoned dog from “mountains of debris” on Abaco in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.
Mr Thron is aiming to raise $25,500 to put toward a custom infrared drone and an all-terrain vehicle to help him do the same for many other animals still struggling to survive in the rubble.
“Douglas Thron is using his creativity and critical thinking to rescue as many animals as possible from post-Dorian devastation,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is proud to support this and stands with him as he works to meet his goal.”
On his GoFundMe page, Mr Thron said he spent the past two weeks delivering aid to the Bahamas islands hit by Hurricane Dorian.
“Just recently they started allowing the public back onto Abaco Island, one of the hardest hit areas,” he wrote. “As a professional aerial cinematographer, I’ve covered many of the biggest natural disasters in recent times including the Paradise and Santa Rosa, California fires, and I can honestly say I’ve never seen a place as destroyed as Marsh Harbour.
“. . .While delivering aid and filming the destruction in an effort to bring public awareness, I spotted numerous dogs and cats with my drones and quickly realised this was the most effective way of finding these poor animals before it’s too late. The mountains of debris make it very challenging to find these animals. I have come back to the US to gather more supplies to aid in the rescue of these desperate animals. An infrared drone would help me spot the animals faster in the sea of debris and destruction. I also plan to bring over a four-wheeler or dirt bike to get around since many of the roads are still unreachable by cars.
“I have been working with multiple rescue groups in the Bahamas that said these tools would help with rescue missions immensely,” he added.
A recent survey revealed that 91 percent of animal guardians aren’t prepared for a natural disaster, according to a press release from the animal advocacy group. PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—urges animal guardians to make a plan for their family in case of emergency evacuations and not to leave animal companions behind to fend for themselves. Animals should never be left tied up or confined to crates, pens, or hutches, as they’ll be trapped and unable to flee rising water, PETA warns.
Mr Thron was one of PETA’s 2018 People of the Year for filming the rescue of a cat who was stuck under a burned-out truck during the California wildfires. His GoFundMe page raised more than $6,000 up to press time.