Pets Are a Part of the Katrina Story
What you can do to assist families with pets.
Pets Are a Part of the Katrina Story
How To Help By Steve Dale
The loss of human life and property as a result of Katrina is unspeakable. But at least one survivor still had something to hold onto, quite literally. On camera, as she held her soggy kitten close to her chest, she said, “No, I did not lose everything. I thank God for what is sparred,” as she petted her cat, as tears streamed from her eyes.
The good news is that the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (LA SPCA) was smart enough to heed the warning, evacuating their 263 animals to Houston before the hurricane hit. (Houston proceeded to disperse the animals they couldn’t handle to San Antonio and other nearby cities).
In New Orleans, the bad news is that thousands who evacuated leaving their pets behind, assuming they would return in a day or two. Those animals who did not drown are either now starving to death, or have escaped to try and scavenge for food. Prospects of reuniting to ever see their people appear grim. But humane organizations are hoping beyond hope to have the opportunity to get into the city.
As one humane society spokesperson told me, “If we have the opportunity, dealing with pets will be easy compared to what officials have had to confront with at least some people.”
The news isn’t quite as dismal elsewhere in Louisiana, or in Mississippi or Alabama where there’s a greater ability to find lost pets; and make-shift shelters and veterinary care through the American Veterinary Medical Association VMAT Team and volunteers from various other groups are gradually getting organized.
Many facilities sheltering people don’t allow animals, quite literally forcing people to give up their animals. In fact, often times this is exactly why some people may not evacuate to a shelter in the first place – they don’t want to leave their animals.
People need your help, and the following listing is most certainly is not meant to imply you shouldn’t contribute to the Red Cross or other legitimate organizations which fund human assistance. But humane assistance is important too. Companion animals are family to many; entire families require assistance. If you are so inclined here are some verified and legitimate options:
American Kennel Club Canine Support and Relief Fund
www.akc.org/news/hurricane_katrina.cfm or mail a donation to AKC Companion Animal Recovery Canine Support and Relief Fund, c/o American Kennel Club, 5580 Centerview Drive Raleigh, North Carolina 27606. You may also call 800-252-7894.
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (2005 Disaster Relief Fund)
www.aspca.org/disaster, or call 212-876-7700, ext. 4516.
American Veterinary Medical Association Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams
www.avmf.org, or call (847) 925-8070. AVMF supports state and Veterinary Medical Assistance Team (VMAT) training and equipment for deployment in times of disaster. Make donation to AVMF AVMA Medical Assistance Team, 1931 N. Meacham Rd., Suite 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173
Cat Fanciers’ Association (Disaster Relief Fund and the newly formed CFA Gulf Sore Fund)
www.cfainc.org, 732-528-7391. The Cat Fanciers’ Association, Inc., P.O. Box 1005, Manasquan, NJ 08736-0805.
Code 3 Associates (Code 3 Associates, Inc. is dedicated to both professional disaster response for animal rescue operations and to training individuals working in animal related law enforcement throughout the country. Also works with EARS –Emergency Animal Rescue Service – from the United Nations)
www.code3associates.org, 303-772-7724; Code 3 Associates, P.O. Box 1128 Erie, CO 80516.
Humane Society of the United States
www.hsus.org, or call 800-HUMANE-1. Or send check to, HSUS Disaster Relief Fund, 2100 L Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037.
Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association
www.lvma.org, or call 800- 524-2996. Make donations to the Dr. Walter J. Ernst Jr. Memorial Foundation, 8550 United Plaza Boulevard, Suite 1001, Baton Rouge, LA 70809, Make note on your check that the contribution is for “Hurricane Katrina Relief.”
Noah’s Wish (an animal welfare organization dedicated exclusively to rescuing following disasters). www.noahswish.org, or call 530-622-9313, or send a donation to Noah’s Wish, P.O. Box 997 Placerville, CA 95667
North Shore Animal League
www.nsalamerica.org, or call 877-4SAVEPET.
Perhaps the organization most in need will be the Louisiana SPCA. It’s likely their building has been destroyed – though this is unconfirmed. Their website has not been updated; their New Orleans address and phone no longer exist. It’s unclear how to help them today. But at some juncture, there will be directives available through their website: www.la-spca.org. Other affected city shelters will require help as well. A Mobile, AL shelter site is at www.mobilespca.org.
Marcella Durand contributed