Hurricane Katrina Animal Disaster Relief Updates

Coordinated efforts providing animal disaster relief are being conducted by:

  • American Humane Association
  • Humane Society of the United States
  • United Animal Nations
  • American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
  • International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)
  • Code 3 Associates
  • Best Friends Animal Society

Comprehensive Article on the Problem

Humane Society Sends in Team

Teams Mobilize to Help Pets

Rescue Teamts Help Hurricane Animals

New York Post: Dying Pets

American Humane Update (See Link in above post for direct access):
Updated, Sept. 12, 2005.
The Lamar-Dixon Expo Center is housing roughly 2,000 pets — some being transferred out to other facilities after undergoing vet checks, vaccinations, microchips, and photo ID, and some in a waiting period while these tasks are being completed.

Our sheltering operation here at Barn 5 kicked into high gear to accommodate 150 animals expected to be brought in. Working with the San Diego Humane Society, American Humane’s Responders helped establish incident command and smooth operations to guide the activities of all the volunteers.

American Humane continues working toward the goal of keeping the facility in tip-top shape, so that more animals can come in from the elements and get to comfort, food, water, and safety.

We face tough obstacles with the laws of Louisiana and with the limited sheltering space, but we’re doing all we can to rescue and care for as many animals as possible.

When we can’t bring in more animals from the field, we go out and bring food and water to them! Their lives are the most important thing to us out here.

Visit their log update via the link in one of the above blog posts.

HSUS Update:
The Humane Society of the United States has been on the ground in the Hurricane Katrina impact zone for eleven days now. Our highly trained Disaster Animal Response Teams have been running search and rescue operations, setting up and staffing temporary shelters, and working with many other organizations to save as many animals’ lives as we can.

Here’s a quick look at the most recent developments in our Katrina disaster response:

The HSUS and other groups have rescued nearly 4,000 animals to date from New Orleans and the hardest-hit areas of Mississippi.

More than 200 people have been reunited with their pets as a result of these rescues.

Temporary shelters are fully operational in Gonzales (Louisiana) and Hattiesburg (Mississippi), where rescued animals are examined by medical staff, cleaned, fed, watered, and cared for around the clock.

Hundreds of HSUS disaster response team members, volunteers, and other animal groups are keeping operations running at both sites.

The HSUS is deploying some 50 new people each day who have professional animal care and control expertise.

To buy time for stranded animals who elude capture, our rescue teams are setting up “feeding stations” of large amounts of food and water to keep the animals sustained until another rescue attempt can be made.

We have made tremendous progress, but there is still so much to do. The HSUS’s primary concern remains rescuing animals from the disaster areas. As each day passes, the stranded dogs, cats, and other animals go another day without sustenance and care. Our teams are doing everything they can to reach them in time.

EARS Update:
EARS continues to operate the pet-friendly shelter in Jackson, Mississippi in conjunction with the Mississippi Animal Rescue League. A team of EARS volunteers are caring for more than 100 animals – including dogs, cats, pigs and birds – belonging to evacuees and animals rescued from points south. Yesterday the shelter admitted 24 dogs owned by an evacuee. The pet-friendly shelter is serving as a staging area for supplies to be delivered to rescue teams that are operating in Hattiesburg and the hard-hit coastal regions to the south. On Sunday, the volunteers shipped more than four tons of horse food and 100 bales of hay to Hattiesburg. More EARS volunteers are scheduled to arrive at the shelter this week. On Friday, veterinarian Sophie Grundy arrived to help provide needed medical care for the animals. Dr. Grundy’s latest entry to her online Disaster Response Diary was posted this morning.

EARS is also operating an animal shelter in Monroe, Louisiana, which is housing dogs, cats, birds and one ferret belonging to some of the 800 evacuees who are staying at a shelter nearby. The shelter also admitted 20 rescued dogs on Friday. The Monroe community is very supportive of the animal shelter. Midwest Regional Director Cora Tyson arrived on Saturday and has taken over as Incident Commander at the Monroe shelter. Accompanying her is journalist Greg Eans who is maintaining a log of his experiences.

We deployed a number of volunteers to both shelters and expect to deploy more very soon. We are in the process of calling all EARS volunteers who expressed interest in responding to this disaster to verify their availability. Volunteers traveling into these areas must have their tetanus shots and are strongly advised to have their hepatitis shots. According to the Louisiana State Veterinarian’s Office, there have been several animal bites sustained in the two large animal shelters in the Baton Rouge area. They advise that if an animal bite wound should occur, immediate medical attention should be sought and the offending animal segregated for a minimum of 10 days and observed for the signs of rabies. Rabies is not common in Louisiana, but precautions should be observed.

Please note that animals are not available for adoption at either the Monroe or the Jackson shelters.

On the logistics front, UAN is helping to procure much-needed supplies for the State of Louisiana to use in its evacuation and recovery efforts. AVID, our partner in nationwide community microchipping events, provided 2,000 microchips with lifetime registrations; UAN has purchased vital medical supplies for animals coming out of the disaster area in Gonzalez, Louisiana, where we also sent in cages made generously available through PETsMART Charities. We continue to provide support as requested.

UAN’s partner, Code 3 Associates, is engaged in water rescue operations in the New Orleans area. EARS’ partners at the Ramona-based Emergency Animal Rescue are also involved with a swift-water rescue team in the area. They have brought hundreds of animals from the ravaged New Orleans area to the massive Gonzalez staging area. It continues to be unbearably hot in the region, but the rescue teams are remaining strong. While the Gonzalez shelter is growing dramatically, things are being very well coordinated. The water rescue team reports having brought in approximately 50 dogs and 2 cats on Saturday. Sunday was a day for regrouping as efforts were made to ensure the Gonzales facility could safely keep up with the overwhelming number of animals being rescued.

UAN has also been involved with the collection of thousands of requests from evacuees for their animals to be rescued. has gone live with a database that aims to fully inventory all rescue requests, sheltered animals and found animals. It is the sincerest hope of all involved with this relief effort that as many families that can be reunited are. The last thing any of these hurricane victims need is the trauma of losing their companions.

We continue to coordinate response efforts with several other organizations providing animal disaster relief – including the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Colorado-based Code 3 Associates, the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association, the Louisiana SPCA, the School of Veterinary Medicine at Louisiana State University, and the American Humane Association. Daily conference calls and in-field meetings are occurring between these organizations. The animal rescue and shelter operation in Louisiana is coordinated by the Animal Evacuation and Recovery Command Center located in the Louisiana Department of Agriculture Building in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. By all accounts this is the most coordinated humane relief effort ever.

Noah’s Wish Update:
SLIDELL, La., Sept. 7, 2005 — Noah’s Wish, a not-for-profit organization that works exclusively to rescue and shelter animals in disasters has almost 500 animals in its temporary shelter in Slidell, LA. Cats, dogs, rabbits, parakeets, hamsters, iguanas, snakes, parrots and baby squirrels are among the animals rescued by Noah’s Wish volunteers and Slidell Animal Control officers. In addition to the 490 pets in the care of Noah’s Wish, seven other animal shelters in the state of Louisiana are also working around the clock to save as many animals as possible. In total, over 2,600 animals are being housed in seven shelters throughout the state. Cats, dogs, rabbits, one duck, one snake, one pot-bellied pig and 151 horses are in shelters across the state of Louisiana.

Many dogs coming into the Noah’s Wish shelter are being treated for dehydration and several have skin conditions. Yesterday, veterinarians treated one dog’s broken leg and a senior poodle-mix was diagnosed with early stage kidney problems. Late Tuesday evening, volunteers brought in a dog with severe tail lacerations, and the veterinary staff made the decision to amputate part of the tail, as they were not able to repair it. The veterinary team will begin vaccinating animals, and treating for flea/tick infestations. Dogs are getting baths and much-needed grooming.

Noah’s Wish is coordinating with Alley Cat Allies to humanely trap cats in Slidell. There are a number of cats in need of being rescued so that they can be reunited with their families. For the cats that volunteers are unable to trap, Noah’s Wish volunteers are setting up feeding stations so that they have a safe place to eat and clean water to drink.

At the temporary shelter in Slidell, 50 tented dog runs have been set up and they are filling up quickly. Animals are being found alive in homes as rescues continue. One rescue team found an over-bred, emaciated pit bull-mix huddled between a tipped-over washer and dryer in a house that had been flooded with six feet of water. Frightened dogs continue to roam the streets of Slidell and as time goes on, they are beginning to get hungry enough to approach volunteers who are trying to coax them to safety.

Volunteers plan to visit houses where pets have been removed, leaving notes for their owners to let them know that their pets are safe. Noah’s Wish will also be making arrangements for foster care for pets that are not able to go home in the near future. Fostering is going to be done as locally as possible, as we want the pets to stay close to their owners. “Pets and owners need each other right now,” said Terri Crisp, Founder and Director of Noah’s Wish. In some cases, the pets are all these families have left, other than their own lives.”

In addition to housing rescued animals, Noah’s Wish has been distributing pet food throughout the city. Supplies of pet food are dwindling in stores that are open, and many people are finding their food supply has been destroyed by flood waters. Fresh water is also in short supply.

The Slidell Animal Control building sustained extensive damage during Hurricane Katrina and will need to be leveled due to structural damage. Noah’s Wish staff and volunteers on the ground do not have phone, cell phone or web access at this time and are unable to communicate outside the Slidell area. Therefore, Noah’s Wish is asking that pet owners from Slidell come in person to Heritage Park to report a lost or stranded pet. Noah’s Wish staff will be at Heritage Park from 8am to 7pm every day for the next several weeks. Pet owners must come in person to determine if their pet is at the shelter, as the number of pets being rescued is expected to reach the hundreds.

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  1. Thank you so much for the important work you are doing. I thank God that so many pets/family members are being rescued by your capable hands. My family supports you both emotionally and finacially.