After 18 months of restricted travel, most people save their vacation time for a trip to the Cape or the White Mountains, or maybe even a flyaway to a different part of the country. New Bedford Animal Control Officer Manny Maciel is not like most people.

Instead of using his vacation time to get some chores done around the house, Maciel has taken two weeks of paid time off from his job to set up shop down in Louisiana and rescue family pets that have been affected by Hurricane Ida. He's doing it with volunteers from American Humane.

"Even though I'm out here on my own, I bring a little bit of New Bedford with me with all of the support. It's really rewarding. That's what our community is about, helping each other," Maciel said.

WBSM-AM/AM 1420 logo
Get our free mobile app

Rough Conditions in Louisiana Following Ida

Maciel said that after three weeks, there are still parts of Louisiana that are still without power. That means working and sleeping in sweltering heat, trying to rescue as many of the displaced animals as possible.

Even as Maciel managed to get some sleep last Tuesday night, he was awakened by a tornado warning when a waterspout was being tracked a half mile away.

The crews are up at 6:30 a.m. to not only rescue more animals from the still devastated area, but to care for the 85 animals that are in their care for the time being. They don't finish work until they go to bed at nearly 9 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Manny Maciel
Photo courtesy of Manny Maciel

What Happens to the Animals That Are Rescued?

Most of the dogs that are rescued are still "pretty skinny," Maciel said. They will lure them with food to help get them to the shelter. All of the animals are posted on the shelter's webpage. The shelter holds the pets for a couple of days before they are moved to a location for a little over two weeks before they are shipped out to different shelters around the country.

"It's been rewarding seeing these animals turn around. We're teaching them how to sit, how to play, and how to walk on a leash," Maciel said.

If for some reason the animal's owner is found after a pet has been shipped out, they will return the animal to the owner.

Locals Have Been Grateful

"One of the locals across the street cooked some jambalaya and pasta for the animal rescue volunteers," Maciel said. "I'll try to get the recipe to bring back to Top Shelf," the bar and grill where Maciel works.

Courtesy of American Humane
Courtesy of American Humane

LOOK: Here are the pets banned in each state

Because the regulation of exotic animals is left to states, some organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, advocate for federal, standardized legislation that would ban owning large cats, bears, primates, and large poisonous snakes as pets.

Read on to see which pets are banned in your home state, as well as across the nation.

More From WBSM-AM/AM 1420