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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

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Rescue Photos

Rescue Diary

Animals housed at the Austin Humane Society.
Karen Medicus with Max, a very happy puppy being sheltered in Austin.

Animals housed at the Blackham Coliseum in Lafayette.

Piles of pet food at the Blackham Coliseum in Lafayette.

Click here to make a donation that will go directly to help shelters impacted by natural disasters rebuild facilities and assist in their disaster recovery efforts.

Evening Update, September 5:

Don't believe everything you hear. The ASPCA has investigated allegations that family pets in Louisiana are being taken from their owners and shot. We have found that there is absolutely no truth to this widely circulated rumor. According to reliable sources, one dog was shot and killed after it tried to attack an officer. There is no order to shoot animals unless they are endangering law enforcement officers. In fact, we just heard from our rescue staff in the field that they were stopped by security guards trying to get help for some New Orleans police officers who were helping to care for some puppies at a local Wal-Mart and wanted to make sure that they were rescued. You can help keep a volatile situation from becoming even worse by checking out rumors before passing them on. If you hear about a disturbing situation, let us know. We'll check it out and get back to you.

more false information
You may have heard the rumor that evacuees in Louisiana are being ordered to abandon their animals. In some cases, they have had to leave their animals but there are many animal rescuers in the area. The Louisiana State Veterinarian's Office has assured us that every effort is being made to reunite animals and people. The State Veterinarian's Office is now coordinating all information about animals stranded in LA. They have a 30-computer and phone bank set up, and are on site, so they are in the best position to combine data and forward it to rescue teams. In Louisiana, people reporting stranded animals or have found an animal should call 1-888-773-6489. Outside Louisiana, people should call 225-925-3980. Information may also be e-mailed to katrina@ldaf.louisiana.gov. The State Veterinarian's Office website is loaded with very good information and clear instructions.

more good news
You may have seen the wire story about the little boy who "cried until he vomited" when his little dog, Snowball, was not permitted to get on the bus removing the family to safety. The good news is that Snowball has been located and is safe according to Dr. Martha Littlefield, Ass't State veterinary with the state of Louisiana. Efforts will now be made to reunite him with his family.

Morning Update, September 5:

The ASPCA has received at least 50 emails and calls regarding 50 to 150 animals stranded on the roof of the Windy Boggs Medical Center (AKA Murphy's Animal Hospital) on North Jefferson Davis Parkway in New Orleans. The animals are pets belonging to hospital staff, cared for by one dedicated doctor who purportedly refused to be evacuated with the other staff members. As a result, he and the animals were quickly running out of food and water.

As of Monday morning, a caravan of animal control vehicles, zodiac boats, equipment and personnel from groups including ASPCA, HSUS, Code 3, United Animal Nation, ARL of Boston and the Louisiana SPCA were en route to New Orleans to rescue the animals from Murphy’s Animal Hospital. The caravan will also pick up any animals they find stranded along the route.

The ASPCA and other organizations, including HSUS, Best Friends, United Animal Nation, Petfinder.com, are working to identify and log pets in need of rescue in affected areas. A database is being compiled and provided to animal rescuers, and will be posted on Petfinder.com shortly.

Good news! Thirty-five dogs have been loaded onto the Rescue Waggin in Gonzales, and are on their way to safe haven at the Houston SPCA! Additionally, 75 dogs have been rescued from the Superdome.

austin, texas
Good news from the Austin evacuation center, where the first evacuee dog has been reunited with his owner! This puppy's guardian is a 14-year-old girl, who arrived at the Austin evacuation center with her family members. The puppy was a gift from her father, whose whereabouts are unknown at this time.

The Austin Humane Society (AHS), in conjunction with The City of Austin Town Lake Animal Center and the ASPCA, has 75 evacuated animals in temporary care. Staffers are still working around the clock at relief facilities to help provide evacuee pets with a safe haven. AHS has set up a Pet Hotline (512-646-PETS) for evacuees moving to Austin who need to find care, placement and supplies for their family pets. Eight pets have now been reunited with their displaced owners.
Click here to see photos taken at the Austin evacuation center.

Morning Update, September 3:

As of Friday evening, we were close to one million dollars in donations for direct shelter grants! Thank you to everyone who has given so generously. If you would like to donate, you can call our toll-free number, (866) 275-3923, or give online. The more money we raise, the more we can help shelters in need—100 % of funds will be donated to shelters in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Several ASPCA National Outreach staffers spent a good part of Friday tracking down large, extra-large and giant collapsible dog crates that we could purchase and expedite to the Houston SPCA and the Louisiana SPCA staging area. We were able to locate and purchase 1,000 crates.

The PETCO Foundation has an additional 90 crates en-route to the Houston SPCA.

Pets in Distress (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) has food and equipment ready to ship to several points in Mississippi and Louisiana.

The ASPCA trailer arrived in Jackson, MS, at 9:30 Friday evening. They will keep us apprised of their efforts over the weekend.

The Mississippi Animal Refuge League (MARL) reports that HSUS and the State Dept. of Agriculture are operating an emergency shelter at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds in Jackson.

There are 500-plus animals in Tyler Town, MS, evacuated from the Humane Society of Louisiana and the St. Francis Animal Sanctuary. They are in need of a generator and supplies.

The Louisiana SPCA has begun rescue efforts for animals left behind in the Greater New Orleans area. Animals are being brought to the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales, LA, which is serving as a staging center for displaced animals. They will soon be uploading photos of displaced pets onto Petfinder.com for people to look for lost pets.

The Houston SPCA has been doing a heroic job taking in animals from the Louisiana SPCA staging area in Gonzales and from families seeking refuge in Red Cross shelters. As of Friday morning, the Houston SPCA had already admitted 700 animals and expects that they could receive 1,000 more. The Houston SPCA staff is working round-the-clock to care for animals so that families devastated by this tragedy will not also be confronted with losing their pets.

Dr. Andrew Lang, director of the ASPCA Equine Program, will be issuing a grant to the Emergency Equine Response Unit to purchase “water buffaloes” (300-500 gallon tanks) and pumps, and an extra diesel tank for their truck, so they can head south to assist in the rescue efforts.

Late afternoon update, September 2:

As we write this, ASPCA Southern Regional Shelter Outreach Manager Laura Lanza is busy compiling lists to help with rescues and contacting local shelters in affected areas to determine their immediate needs. Having spent 18 years as a director at Calcasieu Parish Animal Services, Laura is very familiar with the Gulf Region, and has many friends and colleagues in the area. She is serving as the ASPCA point person for calls and email inquiries about relief efforts.

We'll be checking in with Laura as she begins to receive feedback from groups, and we'll share it with you. We know how frustrating it is for those who are so faraway, watching television reports and wanting to do something to help. Please check our website for updates often--we'll keep you up-to-date on new information, progress made, and ways that you can help.

A large number of people and animals have been evacuated to Austin, where the Red Cross has set up a shelter for people at the Toney Berger Center on Highway 290. ASPCA Shelter Outreach director Karen Medicus, a former shelter director in Austin, is helping local groups coordinate efforts. Many people are calling the Red Cross, asking about shelter for their pets. They have identified a staging area for animals who may be brought here. We'll be checking with Karen for updates and pictures. For more information about efforts in Austin, call (512) 646-PETS.

Our team of veterinarians, technicians and medical staff are right now on their way to Jackson. Soon to follow them is one of our ASPCA Cares mobile veterinary clinics.

Noon Update, September 2:

The Houston SPCA has been working tirelessly to help the animal victims of Hurricane Katrina, and shelter staffers have taken on a lion’s share of the recovery efforts. They are housing 275 animals evacuated from the Louisiana SPCA, and last night alone they took in 300 more animals, including pets belonging to evacuees staying in Houston-area shelters.

The ASPCA has just purchased 300 crates, which will be drop-shipped immediately to the Houston SPCA. Additionally, both PETCO and ACES (Animal Care and Equipment Services) have been helping us with donations for shelters. PETCO sent the Houston SPCA 100 large dog crates, and ACES has contributed leashes.

Evening Update, September 1:

A group of ASPCA employees led by Kelly Harrington, director of the ASPCA Disaster Response Program, have left for Jackson, MS, to assist Code 3 with their rescue efforts. Accompanying Harrington are Humane Law Enforcement agent Richard Raheb; Margaret McLaughlin, director of Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital’s veterinary technicians; and Sandy Monterose, ASPCA National Outreach’s northeast manager. They are traveling in the fully equipped disaster vehicle, which includes a 40-foot trailer and a boat.

The ASPCA’s National Outreach department has at last made contact with Laura Maloney, executive director of the Louisiana SPCA. All of the shelter’s animals were safely evacuated, and the group is now concentrating efforts on helping remove and relocate other animals from the area. Maloney and some of her staff are using a horse farm in Gonzales, LA, as their staging area. Violence in the New Orleans area is prohibiting them from getting close to the city, and they were turned away by the State Police for safety reasons.

Other Shelters in Louisiana:
- The LA Humane Society has evacuated to Mississippi and all the animals and staff are safe. They have issued a bulletin for help.
-The Bert Smith Jefferson Parish Animal Services evacuated to Washington Parish in the town of Franklenton. Reportedly, things are deteriorating there. Plans are underway to evacuate them to Gonzales, where the animals can be evaluated and moved out to the Houston SPCA.
- There are still many shelters we have not heard from. Petfinder.com is maintaining a list of updates from shelters and rescues.

There has been almost no communication from the Humane Society of South Mississippi (Gulfport).

We will keep you informed as we learn more; please check back for the latest reports.

* Thanks to Rae Domingues for taking the photos at the temporary pet shelter at the BlackhamColiseum in Lafayette.

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