Katrina Animals Pets ~ September 15, 2005: Part 2
[a complete omission of animals and pets]
President Discusses Hurricane Relief in Address to the Nation
Jackson Square New Orleans, Louisiana
September 15, 2005
THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. I'm speaking to you from the city of New Orleans -- nearly empty, still partly under water, and waiting for life and hope to return.
The work of rescue is largely finished; the work of recovery is moving forward.
[Some definitions of rescue:
v. To set free, as from danger or imprisonment; save.
n. An act of rescuing; a deliverance. ]
Many families were separated during the evacuation, and we are working to help you reunite. Please call this number: 1-877-568-3317 -- that's 1-877-568-3317 -- and we will work to bring your family back together, and pay for your travel to reach them.
Our first commitment is to meet the immediate needs of those who had to flee their homes and leave all their possessions behind.
I also want to know all the facts about the government response to Hurricane Katrina.
Yet the system, at every level of government, was not well-coordinated, and was overwhelmed in the first few days. It is now clear that a challenge on this scale requires greater federal authority and a broader role for the armed forces -- the institution of our government most capable of massive logistical operations on a moment's notice.
The United States Congress also has an important oversight function to perform. Congress is preparing an investigation, and I will work with members of both parties to make sure this effort is thorough.
[HSUS Press Release September 15 regarding Senators Ensign and Santorum September 13 Letter to President Bush. See also AHA Press Release September 14]
Senators Ensign and Santorum Speak Out on Hurricane Katrina’s Impact on Pets
WASHINGTON – Today a coalition of animal protection and veterinary organizations praised U.S. Senators John Ensign (R-NV) and Rick Santorum (R-PA) for alerting the President to the impact of Hurricane Katrina on tens of thousands of stranded and abandoned animals and on public health.
Senator Ensign, a veterinarian, and Senator Santorum yesterday sent a letter to President Bush urging him to designate an individual to coordinate the federal government’s response to this emergency and to actively and immediately assist with animal rescue efforts. Thousands of pets are currently waiting for help as they suffer slow and agonizing deaths from starvation and dehydration.
Groups including The Humane Society of the United States, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, American Veterinary Medical Association, American Humane Association, Animal Welfare Institute, Doris Day Animal League, and United Animal Nations have all been working to rescue animals affected by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
Yesterday the groups met with lawmakers and requested urgent assistance moving rescued animals from overwhelmed temporary shelters to safe havens out of state and immediate action from federal relief agencies for animals still waiting to be rescued. Animal welfare teams have rescued thousands of animals from the streets of New Orleans and throughout the Gulf Coast region, but thousands of pets remain stranded and it’s a race against the clock to help them.
“An urgent concern that has arisen from the destruction in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama has been the large number of pets left behind. These animals represent not only an emotional concern, but also a significant public health hazard,” wrote Senators Ensign and Santorum in today’s letter to President Bush. “The federal government must provide the tools necessary to quickly and safely collect and transport abandoned animals from the disaster area to shelters and homes around the country.”
Animal welfare groups have received thousands of phone calls from people who were forced to evacuate without their pets, providing information about their pets so that their animals can be rescued. Many pets are still trapped inside homes, and others are roaming the streets. Rescue organizations are dispatching that information to their teams in the field, who go door to door searching for stranded animals, bring them to emergency staging areas, and provide them with veterinary care. The animals’ photos will be put in a database so that evacuees can be reunited with their lost pets, online at www.petfinder.com/disaster/index.html.
Animal welfare groups called on the federal government to provide more support for the rescue effort, to help move rescued pets out to animal shelters across the country, and for agency responders to actively assist with direct animal rescue. More information on the animal rescue effort is available online at www.hsus.org, www.aspca.org, www.avma.org, www.americanhumane.org, www.awionline.org, www.ddal.org, and www.uan.org. A copy of the letter from Senators Ensign and Santorum is available online at www.hsus.org/web-files/PDF/KatrinaAnimals.pdf.
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Rescuers struggle to save pets after Katrina
NEW ORLEANS - Rescuers trying frantically to save animals left behind when people fled Hurricane Katrina have given up on collecting pets and begun simply leaving food and water for them.
Teams from as far afield as Los Angeles and San Diego are traveling around the New Orleans area, wading into flooded areas and checking abandoned neighborhoods to find animals that could not accompany their rescued owners.
“It’s very dire,” said Kim Noetzel, marketing director of the Arizona Humane Society, which is trying to help coordinate efforts.
There are now more than 4,000 pets in a temporary shelter in nearby Gonzales, La., and there is nowhere left to take rescued animals. “It is packed to the gills,” Noetzel said in a telephone interview.
“We are not bringing any animals in. We are just going in there and making sure they have food and water,” said Tony Valenzuela of the Arizona Human Society.
Neglected and abusedValenzuela has taken over command of a temporary pet rescue headquarters at a Salvation Army store on the New Orleans city border.
There, a thin dog lies listlessly in the shade, her spine poking through her scabby brown hide. The Arizona group is taking her with them, along with a few other scrawny dogs.
“This is what we are finding now,” said Valenzuela. “These are animals that were neglected and abused before. If this was a normal situation, we’d have a lot of animal abuse prosecutions.”
The teams were able to get into badly flooded St. Bernard parish this week for the first time and found many animals had drowned.
Leaving hearts behind
At home after home, dogs had been left tied up, only to drown slowly as the waters rose and their ropes or chains stretched to the limit.
“It’s horrific. They told us before we left to leave our hearts behind,” Valenzuela said.
Many people heeded mandatory evacuation order for the New Orleans area before Katrina hit but left pets with food and water, expecting to come back after a day or two. They have been gone since the end of August and pets have been locked into houses with no power, no air conditioning, with temperatures above 90 degrees F daily.
Pet owners were trying desperately to get to their animals or organize a rescue. Some evacuees found neighbors to return and check on their animals, while others posted pleas on Web sites such as http://www.petfinder.org/disaster/
Others urged volunteers to come to the Gulf region on their own, warning they may be forced to sleep in their cars because of a lack of housing.
Even at the designated shelters, there is a lack of steady coordination. “It’s mass confusion. One day one person is in charge, another day someone else is there,” Valenzuela said. "We are doing the best we can."
Some people managed to bring their pets along when they fled. Some hospitals, for instance, set up ad hoc kennels.
“It helps the staff concentrate on the patients when they know their pets are safe,” said Valerie Englade, a spokeswoman for East Jefferson General Hospital.
Animals spooked and afraidBut even the animals who are being helped by friends or neighbors are spooked.
Disaster medical experts at West Jefferson Medical Center treated a four-year-old boy attacked by a dog in the southern suburb of Gretna.
“We’ve been taking care of the dogs in our neighborhood for 10 to 12 days now,” explained the boy’s father. One stray tagged along. “He was waving a stick and he swung the stick at the dog.”
The boy has a large cut on his chest and another on his thumb.
“It wasn’t a mean dog,” said the father, who could not be identified for medical privacy reasons.
“The animals down here are totally traumatized,” said Dr. John Twomey, chief medical officer at the disaster clinic. "Even their own dogs and cats are turning on people."
Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters.
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St. Bernard Parish, New Orleans Louisiana:
Re-entering St. Bernard Parish
Official St. Bernard Parish Government Website, Louisiana
St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office
Best Friends Animal Society Enters St. Bernard Parish; Conducts ...
U.S. Newswire (press release), DC - September 15, 2005
Bernard Parish in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast ... Best Friends reports that assumptions that most of the animals had drowned or otherwise ...
Today, Best Friends Animal Society became the first animal rescue organization to enter St. Bernard Parish in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.
Previous Best Friends reports:
Local vet racing time to save pets in St. Bernard Parish
Sept. 13. Dr. Eric White is setting up a temporary shelter in the parish, where animals can get food and water until transportation is arranged
Since the area is still in lockdown, few animal rescue groups have been allowed into St. Bernard Parish, where pets are in a desperate struggle for survival. (Best Friends is one of the few groups conducting rescues there – see our reports on the Best Friends Activities page.) Dr. White has only been allowed into the area because of important connections he made that first Friday, when he went into the parish to rescue people.
Time running out for our boat in St Bernard Parish
September 9, 2005
From Paul Berry: We had two teams out on boats on Thursday. Troy Snow has written about his crew in an earlier posting. Ours was similar, so I’ll keep this brief.
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Local people keep making a difference
[Scroll down to]
On Wednesday morning, TAILS Executive Director Beth Drake and TAILS board President Kathy Stelford, along with other animal rescue workers, entered the highly restricted zone of St. Bernard Parish, which is east of New Orleans. The team members are on an RV and are part of the Disaster Animal Response Team of the Humane Society of the United States."It was not open for animal rescue until today (Wednesday)," TAILS spokeswoman and board member Carolyn Law said.
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Pet Sitters International Calls for Creation of Pet-Friendly Evacuation Centers Throughout United States
PR Newswire (press release), NY
... of human and animal life as witnessed in the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. ... facilities are not equipped or authorized to accommodate animals, many people ...
Louisiana State University Hurricane Equine Rescue Operations ...
United States Equestrian Federation, Inc. (press release), KY
... Until then, owners are encouraged to identify their animals as quickly as possible. ... best way to assist the Louisiana Horse Victims of Hurricane Katrina and to ...
Caregiving: Pets are evacuee concerns
United Press International
... on a major concern in New Orleans, both during and after Hurricane Katrina. ... response -- the police or military are not skilled or trained to handle animals.". ...
PetSmart Charities' Rescue Waggin' Vehicles Transporting Displaced ...
PR Newswire (press release), NY
... After the state-required holding period of 30 days, animals impacted by the ... tax-deductible donations to help the pet victims of Hurricane Katrina and other ...
Pets vulnerable to post-traumatic stress, too
... Katrina survivors who are reunited with their pets may notice such signs of stress and anxiety as breaking housetraining or pottying outside the litter box ...
Evacuated animals not being euthanized
Owners of pets brought from New Orleans sought
about false rumors
* For the record, neither Lafayette's animal shelter -- which is only housing a few rescued animals -- nor the Blackham Coliseum shelter set up for pets of human evacuees housed at the Cajundome is destroying animals, Lee said.
* That also goes for other shelters in the state, said Larry Hawkins, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's animal rescue effort in Louisiana.
* He also said that another false rumor circulating is that animals rescued from the hurricane will be under some type of quarantine.
Hawkins said animals that are obviously strays can be adopted and taken out of the area or the state, and many have been.
The center had been ordered to stop taking animals briefly this past weekend, but the sanitation and animal control issues that caused that order have been solved, he said.
about effective ways to help
* Hawkins said the organizers of the animal rescue effort are also asking people to hold off on shipping dog food.
* "The LSU veterinary school's Web site at http://www.vetmed.lsu.edu is the primary clearing house for information on animal rescue and aid, Hawkins said.
* Another drain on the rescue effort is people arriving to help without clear plans on where they'll be sleeping or how they'll be eating, Hawkins said.
"When they do that, they become a liability," he said.
Hawkins said the animal rescue organizers welcome the help, but need would-be helpers to be self-sufficient and to work through the coordinated effort.
"If they want to get coordinated, they need to go to Lamar-Dixon and get in contact with the Humane Society, they'll check them (volunteers) over and give them IDs," Hawkins said.
Those IDs will allow volunteers to get into the affected areas to help with animal rescues, he said.
A better way for people to help for now would be to make donations to the animal rescue organization of their choice, he said.
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Katrina Animal Shelter Opens In Ocala
An animal rescue shelter has opened in Ocala after local teams rescued 59 dogs and 15 cats from Hurricane Katrina-stricken Louisiana.
The animals were pulled out of floodwaters and removed from rooftops.
The new shelter is called KARS -- Katrina Animal Rescue Shelter.
Healthy pets will be transferred on Friday to the old Marion County Humane Shelter located at 10699 SW 105th Ave. They will be housed there until they are adopted.
Katrina left thousands of people and their pets homeless. Now many animals are wandering the streets of Mississippi and Louisiana.
That's why one man in our area decided to head to the Gulf Coast and start rescuing some of them. Chuck Williams drove his minivan to New Orleans and brought nine dogs back to his lake house in Hawthorne. He says none of them had any collars or ID tags, so he can't track down their owners.
Williams says the dogs were "running down the streets of New Orleans, just running in packs, the National Guard the New York Police Department would come by and tell us where there were animals running, so they did a lot to help us."
Chuck Williams is now working with several local organizations to get the dogs vaccinated and adopted
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Next wave of Katrina pets flood Bay Area
San Mateo Daily Journal, CA
There are few human refugees making their way to California, but about 5,000 stranded pets are expected to and on their feet in the Bay Area. Of that, 100 will be under the care of PHS and 15 will stay at Shamrock private kennels in Pacifica, White said.
Today?s flight is the third of its kind chartered as part of ?Operation Pet Lift,? a now-national effort to save thousands of dogs and cats separated from their owners by Hurricane Katrina.