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Katrina Animal Rescue Report

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Old September 20th 05, 12:58 AM
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Default Katrina Animal Rescue Report

Permission to cross-post now granted! Get the word out because help is
desperately needed. From a Connecticut shelter volunteer that just came
back from New Orleans:

September 19, 2005

Hi All,

I got home late last night from Louisiana. I'm still trying to process
everything I've seen and done, not to mention trying to get the stench out
of my clothes! We went to the LSU temporary shelter, which is well run and
organized. They really have their act together and it's a great place to

Next stop was the Lamar Dixon Expo Center(aka Gonzales), the large
"clearing house" facility. LASPCA, HSUS, ASPCA, and VMAT are in a power
struggle over who is in charge. It is total chaos. They don't have
anywhere near enough people to care for the 2000 animals (average) and are
turning away rescue groups bringing more animals in after sitting in line
for hours.
This place is HUGE, and the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is
doing. Dogs and cats sit for days waiting for vet care even if illness is
obvious. Many do not get out of their crates for 2+ days. There is no
leadership, no system, and the animals are suffering.
Vet care is obtained when they get the chance, and only after a request is
put in the "inbox", which happens to be a bucket. Volunteers are so burnt
out they are in tears. There are some very sick animals who are put in
makeshift "wards" in the barns. No bleach bucket outside for shoes, and no
where near any acceptable level of sanitation. "Triage" doesn't happened
regularly, not enough vets & vet techs.

The Parvo stalls are in the middle of everything ... people in & out of
them constantly, and going directly in stalls with "healthy" dogs. All
dogs & cats are kept in crates of all kinds. We got yelled at by VMAT for
moving a puppy into a wire crate instead of a veri-kennel after being told
to do so by HSUS. Don't know if it was because she was a pit pup and
therefore most likely not going to make it out of that hellhole after all
she'd been thru- she was air-vacced off the 610 bridge- or what.

There are huge buses, vans, RV's, tents everywhere, representives of
different states for each large group. Animal Planet had their bus there,
and PETA was driving in as we were leaving. That's all well & good, but the
"negotiations" for control is disgusting. Whoever gets the government
"grant" (aka "Contract") runs the show, and makes some nice $$. There are
pallets of food, water, crates, etc from Walmart, Petco, Petsmart, and a
bunch of others. They just don't have enough people to clean & walk all
these dogs, let alone feed, water, and med. They DESPERATELY need more
people to do the basic stuff.

We hooked up with Pasado Animal Rescue & did door to door searches for
animal survivors in New Orleans. It is mind-blowing how many pets are
still alive, though many are going down hill fast. Wednesday we did water
rescue in an area that was still flooded, and pulled over a dozen dogs out
of houses where they were trapped. We found animals alive in homes that
were boarded up & barricaded, having to break in using any means necessary
to get to them. The stench is unreal, and most homes are booby-traps-
furniture and appliances thrown everywhere by the flood waters, the mold,
sludge and god knows what makes walking in very dangerous. You DO NOT want
to fall and get that stuff on you.

The situation changes hour by hour, let alone day by day. They are
beginning to release animals to rescues at least from what I saw, at least
50% of the dog population is Pitbull/Pit-mixes, approx 25% Rotties & Chows,
and the remaining 25% every breed you can imagine. Some of the rescues are
taking Pits & Rotties, though Lamar Dixon may not be allowing them out,
Pasado & LSU are.

I know there are other groups as well. Save A Dog is still there and flying
in volunteers. They are also doing door to door rescue in the city now.

IF ANYONE CAN GO PLEASE GO! Hotels are not an option. If you go, plan on
sleeping in a tent (bring your own), or your vehicle. Personally, I
recommend the vehicle ... Fire Ants are everywhere, and from personal
experience, they will find you. I spent 2 nights sleeping in a horse stall
before they realized I was there (the ants), but once they did, it was all
over. Their bite is EXTREMELY painful and leaves blisters that turn into
something resembling a pimple. Nothing seems to kill them. Showers are a
luxury, if you can get one. Bring your own food & water, medical supplies,
Rubbing Alcohol, bleach, etc to decontaminate yourself after handling the
animals, who are still covered with dry toxic sewage.
This effort will be going on for months, and people will be needed all the
way thru. Right now, the dogs & cats (and every other creature you can
imagine) are critical. Many are dehydrated and starving, and it is a VERY
ugly scene. I hope things will improve. If anyone goes now, be prepared
to separate your personal feelings from what needs to be done just to get
these animals some help. Hopefully it will improve over the next few
weeks/months, and someone will be in charge and get things somewhat

For those who can't turn off their feelings and just do the job as best
they can, don't go now. Wait until it gets better. If you have a strong
stomach, and can stay focused on just taking care of one at a time, you are
needed now.

Feral dog packs and cat colonies were well established in New Orleans prior
to the hurricane ... now they are feeding off each other, and whatever they
can find. It is truly horrible. The animal population problem is beyond
belief. Out of some 300 dogs Pasado Rescue pulled, only TWO males were
neutered, and I think ONE female. There are dogs who were severely
neglected prior to the hurricane, mange is very prevalent, and god only
knows what else. Most of the Pits have had there ears cropped back to
their heads ...."Home Jobs" done with scissors or knives. The whole thing
is just surreal. I did not dream at all while I was down there, probably
due to exhaustion - we were up at 6 am and lucky to get to bed by 3 or 4
am. The nightmares are starting now, and I can't get the images out of my
mind. I try to focus on the ones we've saved, and pray they get into
homes. Enough for now, this is too long as it is, and I'm starting to cry



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