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.
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.
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