Skip to comments.FEMA: Massive Pet Rescue Ongoing
Posted on 09/16/2005 4:05:50 PM PDT by Zacs Mom
BATON ROUGE, La.-- State and federal agencies, along with numerous non-profit organizations, are united in an ongoing effort to save the pets and animals left helpless by Hurricane Katrina.
"This is the largest animal rescue in the history of the United States ... absolutely unprecedented in scope," said Larry Hawkins, spokesperson for the Unified Incident Command for Animal Rescue in Louisiana . "We have a huge number of people working on this and it's a big success."
Rescuers wade or boat through the flooded city in a house to house search for stranded animals. This joint effort includes the Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry (LDAF), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association's Small Animal Response Team. Joining those efforts are the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Louisiana State University 's School of Veterinary Medicine , the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Humane Society of the United States .
FEMA Search and Rescue teams and elements of the military have also recovered numerous pets encountered in the course of their assigned humanitarian rescue mission.
Presently there are 3,850 animals being sheltered at facilities statewide and 445 rescued pets have been reunited with their owners. Scores more are expected to be picked up as soon as families find housing that permits pets. To date, over 4,000 pets have been rescued. Many more are coming in daily.
Animals are arriving so quickly that at one point the system was temporarily overwhelmed. During the weekend, the triage shelter at Lamar Dixon Expo Center temporarily closed its doors to new arrivals due to concerns about overcrowding. Contrary to reports, rescue efforts did not stop during that time. Animals were either sent to alternate facilities or fed and watered in place until they could be retrieved later. The situation at the Lamar Dixon facility has been remedied and additional locations for sheltering are being sought.
The rescue effort is a four-step process beginning with recovery of the animal. Next, the pet is processed so it will not be a health threat to humans or other animals. This triage phase begins with an examination by qualified veterinarians, including those from FEMA's and the American Veterinary Medical Association's Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams (VMAT). Vets from Louisiana , the U.S. Public Health Service, USDA's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), LSU and volunteers from around the country are also joining in to accomplish the mission. After the initial exam, animals are fed, watered, bathed and given critical medical care and appropriate vaccinations.
Identification efforts begin next. During this phase, a history of the animal is compiled including where the animal was found. This information is transferred to a microchip that is implanted on the rescued pet. Microchips allow animals to be tracked if they are transferred. Digital photographs of the animal are also taken to be posted at www.petfinder.org . The fourth step is sheltering the pet to await reunion with its owner.
Time has become critical for pets that have been stranded since the storm. If people know of a pet that needs rescue call the Animal Rescue Command Center at 225-925-3980. People can also visit www.petfinder.com or www.petfinder.org for more information on pet rescue. More than 8,000 requests for rescue have come in so far.
If someone is looking for a pet they should contact their nearest Humane Society or go online to www.petfinder.org . More information is also available at www.vetmed.lsu.edu .
Although there are some 400 horses and mules in the pet shelters, including those from French Quarter carriage services, more large animal rescue efforts are taking place outside the city. There, units including the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers work to get feed and fresh water to livestock. In Plaquemines Parish, the LDAF and USDA/APHIS are coordinating a state and federal airlift to carry lifesaving supplies to stranded cattle.
National response to the plight of the animals has been heartwarming and overwhelming. Individual and corporate donations have fully equipped the rescue with food and supplies. If people want to help, they are asked to make a cash donation to their favorite animal organization or see www.lvma.org .
Those involved with the rescue want to reassure pet owners and the nation that every humane effort is being made to save the animals left vulnerable by Hurricane Katrina. "We understand what animal owners want and we want the same thing," said Hawkins.
Press conference location:
Louisiana State Emergency Operations Center 7667 Independence Blvd. Baton Rouge , LA 70806
FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003 .
Fudge the pets! You cant even do humans.
please send out to your ping list
Thanks for posting this. Nobody but trained rescuers should be in New Orleans, unless they're on the outskirts, transferring crates to shelters outside of town.
God didn't just create man and woman...he created all this moving, growing, breathing, breeding world.
And remember...only Adam and Eve fell from grace. The rest of God's earthly creation did not fall.
Humans are to blame for death on this planet.
Animals can be a great comfort to people in times of crisis. This is important too. It is a luxury to be able to do it I know. But it will give cheer to many people in a dark time. *That* is why it is important to do.
[Freepmail me to get on or off the Kitty Ping List.]
Own it, Dude. Step up to the plate. What are you saying?
He and some other like-minded vets have set up a fund to help the animal rescue effort. They are in direct contact with vets and veterinary schools in the affected area, so they know exactly what is needed.
I can vouch for these folks as good, honest vets who have done a lot for the community here. Your money will be put to good use.
The vets I have met are among the best people I have ever known.
Great news. Thanks for posting it.
Princess Diva Knowitall is sitting here giving a big Moluccan cheer.
(which is loud and my ears hurt).
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.