World

After Taal volcano eruption, rescuers save abandoned pets and livestock

Tens of thousands fled towns in the Philippines when the Taal volcano erupted Sunday, blanketing the region in ash and raising worries that a more dangerous eruption could come. But while residents have emptied out towns, many pets and farm animals have been left behind. Evacuation centers are supposed to have spaces for animals, but many people could not ferry their livestock and pets without assistance. Operations to rescue abandoned animals have been organized by animal rights organizations and by citizens through social media.

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A volunteer walks with a rescued dog in Talisay, Philippines.

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The town of Talisay remains covered in ash and mud on Wednesday after nearby Taal volcano erupted on Sunday.

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Volunteers search for pets and livestock that were left behind in Talisay.

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Some residents chose to stay and tend to their pets.

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Angelica Bantiling waits on a roadside in Talisay with two dogs, three puppies and three cats.

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Bantiling's three puppies sleep in a box.

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On the main highway in the town of Talisay, Bantiling, 21, cradled her cat Lala. Two more cats, Tony and Pikachu, meow and stick their noses out from the bag slung on her back. She has three bundles of clothes, her neighbor’s two dogs — Queenie and Bimpo — and a box of three puppies. Bantiling’s family evacuated on Sunday, but she said she couldn’t sleep knowing their pets were left behind. She is waiting for volunteers to pass by, hoping they can pick up her pets for her to eventually retrieve once the eruption dies down.

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Rescued horses arrive from the Taal volcano island via boats. The Mendoza clan owns 12 horses used for tourism on the island.

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Thousands of horses were stranded on the island as residents fled on Sunday when the volcano erupted.

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Martin San Diego/For The Washington Post

A member of the Mendoza family provides water for the rescued horses.

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Personal belongings are saved from the Taal volcano island.

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Volunteers, who met on another via social media, rescue pets and livestock that were left in Talisay.

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Exploring the city, they look for animals that might be suffering from dehydration.

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A volunteer is bitten as he tries to rescue an abandoned dog.

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Martin San Diego/For The Washington Post

Rescued dogs from Talisay.

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A volunteer tends to a rescued puppy.

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Outside the abandoned town hall of Talisay, numerous dogs — from mongrels to a Siberian husky — are leashed to fences and kept in cages before being transported to safer spots. John Rex Villanueva, a volunteer veterinarian, said common problems among some animals were dehydration and skin disease, exacerbated by volcanic ash. Sophia Labayen, 34, offered her vehicle to help people transport their animals. “There’s no centralized [authority], but people have been chipping in,” she said.

Martin San Diego/For The Washington Post

Martin San Diego/For The Washington Post

Rescued puppies from Talisay.

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Rescued dogs are checked in an improvised veterinary center.

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The volcano continues to spew ash and could erupt explosively at any moment.

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Paw prints are seen on mud brought by the Taal volcano eruption.

Martin San Diego/For The Washington Post