Pets News

Demolition plan comes after some Surfside survivors left their pets behind

SURFSIDE, Fla. – As engineers plan to demolish what is left standing of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, animal lovers fear the pets survivors left behind will be killed.

On Friday, the official human death toll was at 18 and 145 people remained unaccounted for. It was the 8th day of the search-and-rescue operation at 8777 Collins Ave.

Esther Garfinkel, 88, said she was able to escape the horrific tragedy, but she was forced to leave her beloved pets behind on June 24.

“Everything is in there. My poor birds are dead,” Garfinkel said.

It’s unclear how many pets were abandoned or remain unaccounted for after the 12-story building’s northeastern sections collapsed and the southwestern portion was evacuated.

Yolanda Berkowitz wants to know. She is the founder and president of Friends of Miami Animals Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of homeless pets.

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The organization is working with Miami-Dade Animal Services to help reunite pets with loved ones. Berkowitz said there is a dog, several cats — including Coco and Mia — parakeets, and a guinea pig.

The animal lovers are asking relatives or survivors who are concerned about pets at the Champlain Towers South ruins to call Friends of Miami Animals at 833-366-2642.

Complete coverage

Coverage on Thursday

Workers peer up at the rubble pile at the partially collapsed Champlain Towers South condo building, ahead of a planned visit to the site by President Joe Biden, on Thursday, July 1, 2021, in Surfside, Fla. Search and rescue workers, who have had to contend with summer rainstorms, fires within the debris, and the threat of collapse from the still standing portion of the building, were not visible atop the rubble on Thursday morning, as scores of people remain missing one week after the collapse.(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Coverage on June 30

Search and rescue personnel work atop the rubble at the Champlain Towers South condo building, where scores of people remain missing almost a week after it partially collapsed, Wednesday, June 30, 2021, in Surfside, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Coverage on June 29

Crews work in the rubble Champlain Towers South condo, Tuesday, June 29, 2021, in Surfside, Fla. Many people were still unaccounted for after Thursday’s fatal collapse. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Coverage on June 28

A rescue worker pauses to look up at what remains of the Champlain Towers South residential building, Monday, June 28, 2021 in Surfside, Fla. Many people were still unaccounted for after Thursday’s fatal collapse. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Coverage on June 27

This aerial image shows an oceanfront condo building that partially collapsed three days earlier, resulting in fatalities and many people still unaccounted for, in Surfside, Fla., Sunday, June 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Coverage on June 26

Rescue workers search the rubble of the Champlain Towers South condominium, Saturday, June 26, 2021, in the Surfside area of Miami. The building partially collapsed on Thursday. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Coverage on June 25

FILE – In this June 25, 2021, file photo, rescue personnel work at the remains of the Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside, Fla. Harry Rosenberg, a New York City man, bought a beachfront home there to start a new chapter of his life after his wife and parents died. Now he is missing in the collapse of the building outside Miami. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Coverage on June 24

This photo taken from video provided by ReliableNewsMedia, firefighters rescue a survivor from the rubble of the Champlain Towers South Condo after the multistory building partially collapsed in Surfside, Fla., early Thursday, June 24, 2021. (ReliableNewsMedia via AP)

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