Katrina Animal Care and Rescue

While human life remains the top concern, there were other victims of Hurricane Katrina, too, including some animals who were left to drown in shelters. As evacuations progress and resources are beginning to reach the hurricane's survivors, attention is turning to the animals left behind in the storm.

Update: Unacceptable brutality.
In the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is this article reporting that dogs were shot to death by police because they were "deemed too big or dangerous" to be evacuated with their owners. Absolutely, completely, entirely inexcusable.

Here's an update on conditions in Louisiana, from the point of view of the ASPCA. And this heartbreaking Washington Post photo gallery tells the animals' side of the story.

In the midst of its Katrina relief drive, the Humane Society president told USA Today that 200 animals drowned in their cages at one of its shelters in Gulfport, Miss. The AP followed up a few days later and was told that only 23 died and the rest survived by swimming for hours until their caretakers returned and rescued them. Compare that to the SPCA in Louisiana, which evacuated 263 animals ahead of the hurricane to its sister group in Houston.

As the Humane Society collects massive donations, is it worth asking why one of their shelters abandoned its animals? And will any of these animals be euthanized if owners aren't found for them or if the scars from the storm have left them with behavioral problems?

Update: In a story in the Post's Montgomery County Extra about some evacuated animals brought to a Humane Society shelter in Rockville, Md., is a sad affirmation.

The society planned to keep the animals for 30 days to give the owners an opportunity to find their pets, according to Margaret Zanville, its president. The animals will be euthanized if no one adopts them.

Update to the Update: The president of the Humane Society of the United States has personally assured me that they are running a no-kill operation. Only in cases where the animal is too sick to be saved or is too aggressive to be handled -- and three veternarians must agree that this is the case -- will the animal be euthanized. According to the HSUS president, they are certain they will find homes, either with original owners or new owners, for each rescued Katrina pet.

Many of the local and non-profit shelters these animals are being sent to have euthanasia policies, including the Humane Society. If you want to help, the ASPCA is recruiting volunteers, particularly people willing to drive to the affected areas. Petfinder.com is tracking shelters and rescue groups that are taking in animals, and those that haven't been heard from since the storm. The amazingly compassionate Best Friends Animal Society has managed to put together a couple animal rescue crews searching New Orleans by boat, helping stranded, dehydrated and starving pets off the roofs of cars and homes, and bringing them to safety. But it's a huge job and time is short.

(Meg Smith, a fellow animal rescuer, contributed to this post.)

By Emily Messner |  September 9, 2005; 5:00 PM ET  | Category:  Misc.
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Oh, oh, oh.....

Nice. :D

Drop dead PETA it's the animal WELFARE folks that cares for pets, not PTS on false claims of taking them in.

Posted by: SandyK | September 9, 2005 05:13 PM

As controversial as it is, those with PURE BRED cats (CFA especially) there are animal rescue networks for you. Breeders and specific breed lovers will take in like kind in emergencies (they do this in rescuing pets in PTS policy shelters daily -- or when PETA launches raids on breeders).

The public has got to learn this: DO NOT give strays, feral or ANY animal to a PETA funded shelter. They have been caught KILLING animals they swore they'll put up for adoption. They don't respect folks owning pets, and have a philosophy of killing them instead (better dead than being a pet). They are so ungodly to even release home raised animals to fend for themselves in the wild, ensuring they die a horrible death. Send to to a No-Kill shelter if you can, even the Humane Society's shelter is safer than a PETA one -- they at least TRY to get pets adopted.

REPEAT: DO NOT give strays/ferals/or any animal to a PETA funded shelter.


Posted by: SandyK | September 9, 2005 05:28 PM

Congratulations to those who help the animals.

And congrats to those police, National Guard, and regular military who understood that saving the animals helped save the emotional stability of those humans they saved.

Posted by: Hal Barker | September 9, 2005 05:33 PM

My donation to the ASPCA this week was well-spent, then!

I hate to change the topic, but I think President Bush (or someone who works for him) must have suddenly started to read the newspapers: The People called for removing Brown and they just pulled him out. The People demanded to know where Dick Cheney is, and they sent him in.

Hey, Mr. President! Can the People get some fries with that?

Posted by: Susan W. | September 9, 2005 05:40 PM

And before I forget...Those with cats with specific illnesses, there are also informal networks that will help out. This is spotty (it's not organized), but if you have a pet that has a specific chronic condition (from CRF to cancer) there are some caregivers with big hearts that will take your baby in for an emergency, who are also trained in caretaking specific conditions. Please check online for specific condition sites/lists for details and help.

It's so sad to read NOLA's pet rescue board. So many need IV fluid attention (any medical warehouse willing to donate IV Saline/cath kits/needles -- 22 to 20 gauge [18 is way to big] -- would be heaven on Earth).


Posted by: SandyK | September 9, 2005 05:54 PM

I don't understand why all of the rescue groups are not let into New Orleans to rescue the thousands of pets there. If you read the daily reports one boat can only pick up 10-20 animals/day. This clearly isn't working. Why not put the National Guard to work?

And how can they continue to separate pets from their owners for evacuation? Most likely that's the only thing these owners have left.

We need a national discussion on how to coordinate animal and human rescue in disaster situations. It's only causing heartache the way things are: like the little boy who threw up when the police at the Superdome snatched his dog, Snowball away.

I understand they've found the dog but not the boy. How cruel, for what? I'm so angry it makes me sick to my stomach.

Posted by: Julie K. | September 9, 2005 05:54 PM

After watching how Bush Administration did nothing to help African Americans, poor whites and blacks and the sick I would look to Americans and others that came forward for help. I'm sure there would be a spin or blame but we learn who we can depend on in our hour of need and its not George Bush or the elected officials who said it was the victims fault. At least we know from the President that the first thing to be done is rebuild Mr. Lott's house even better then it was before the flood. Thats great news.

Posted by: Jackie Rawlings | September 9, 2005 06:18 PM

It's not the mission of the NG to rescue pets. The military is design to break things and to kill. Everything else isn't their role.

It's just not picking up pets and taking them out. Pets get very anxious with strangers, and they'll bite/scratch and run. That task is best for those who are trained for that job -- who are great at coaxing even pit bulls into cages.

It takes a gentle and patient hand.


Posted by: SandyK | September 9, 2005 06:20 PM

Rescuing pets is a terrible misallocation of effort in response to a disaster. Give them IV fluids? Utterly bizarre. As a lifelong dog and cat owner, I cannot sit by as seemingly serious people complain. And goonies like SandyK "The military is design (sic) to break things and to kill" are simply delusional. She probably said the same after our military's tsunami response, though the Indonesians sure didn't.

Posted by: TimK | September 9, 2005 07:10 PM

Goes with animal rescue -- you know how to measure/insert feeding tubes (cats can start to die if not fed in 2 days -- their liver goes); to running an IV for the dehydrated. Katrina doesn't make it any more bizarre.

Reality check: it's very well known in the military, that their mission is to break things and kill. They're not in existence to be federal police and welfare agents. That you would even balk at this, shows you don't know squat about the military.


Posted by: SandyK | September 9, 2005 07:33 PM

SandyK, I don't think it's necessary to pit a brutal image of the military against the sad images of pets - the plight of pets (and there's been barely any mention of livestock!) is bad on its own. I think a more fair picture of the military is a Mobile United States - food, lodging, construction, transportation, personnel, finances, hospitals, and equipment. Inside the Army's Special Ops division is the Civil Affairs Corps - a group of military and civilian personnel dedicated to rebuilding things the infantry destroys. You'll be happy to know that during the Serbian war they arranged for cows to be provided to impoverished Bosnians so they could have milk, and airlifted a bear out of the Kuwait zoo after Saddam invaded for medical attention. They also bring in books for newly rebuilt libraries and stock schools with supplies. The military isn't evil, even if policies sometimes are.

Posted by: Susan W. | September 9, 2005 08:04 PM

Don't complain to me about it, bark at Julie for mentioning it. I don't make the policy, I just repeat what is known:

The military's role is not to send out hots and cots. The military's role is to "do or die". It's job is to defend and to fight, not become federal EMS officers.

Military 101.

[And there these Dems go again -- a zillion tangents, and no one theme].


Posted by: SandyK | September 9, 2005 08:22 PM

Very well said...


I hope, I pray, I plead that in the next disaster (which will happen), that the planners make sure that there are animal friendly shelters (on high ground) for our companion animals.

If we can't take our pets with us to a shelter, we could at least be able to put them in a shelter for pets only, so we can visit and retrieve them when we're settled again. This is the least we can do.

We, as a nation, are regarding our pets more as family members -- regardless of race or socio-economics. It's reflected anytime we walk into a grocery store, let alone Wal-Mart. There's many brands and varieties of food; toys; beds; health products just for them. It shows that even businesses understand Americans are showering their pets with more than a bowl of clobber, a bone and table scraps. They're becoming like family, so much so that vets list them not only as "Fluffy", they add your surname to their given names, too.

Surely the richest country in the world can earmark an ark for our furry friends. Even the biblical Noah did when it flooded.


Posted by: SandyK | September 10, 2005 02:53 PM

The story gripping animal lovers around the country.

The search for Snowball...


Among all of the human misery, this had to happen on top of it. A little boy had his dog just snatched out of his hands.

Down in Savannah they had some robber of late who put a dog in the oven. It caused an uproar.

Now we have a cop who apparently hasn't read any book from, "Ol' Yellow" to "White Fang". His careless disregard has caused a national uproar.

When we ask ourselves if we're doing the best to caretake our world, look above for an answer. There's still folks who feel an animal is just property to be disposed of at will.

I hope that cop can look at himself in the mirror for what he did.


Posted by: SandyK | September 10, 2005 04:59 PM

Animal rescue is still continuing, and they still need your help...


So many pets are being picked up some shelters have to turn away those recently rescued. Please help in donating room, or shower some love and become a rescuer and take some in.

These pleas shouldn't have happened if these cities/towns had more pet friendly shelters. People don't want to give up their pets to evacuate -- it's apparent to everyone now. If they can't make such shelters possible, allow some building to be available so the ASPCA/Humane Society/Rescuers can setup one for displaced pets.

First focus is on rescuing and saving human life -- that's a given, pets can't even survive without them. But this tragedy of thousands of pets stranded after a natural disaster could be thwarted if their owners can take them with them. Some have more than 2 pets, and they need to shelter them somewhere quickly.

Officials it's your wakeup call -- get with pet organizations and let's all prevent tragedies for both human and our furry companions.

For as the sayings go, "A dog is man's best friend," and "A home is not a home without a cat".


Posted by: SandyK | September 11, 2005 12:28 PM

Hooray for Continental Airlines!!!

From continental.com:

Continental Airlines Evacuates Dogs from Hurricane Zone on Pets-Only Charter

HOUSTON, Sept. 11 / Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL) on Sunday, Sept. 11, is operating a Louisiana evacuation flight carrying up to 100 passengers -- who are all dogs. The dogs are all homeless as a result of Hurricane Katrina.

The charter flight is being arranged by PetRelocations.com out of Austin, Texas, and funded by Madeleine and Boone Pickens.

Since Katrina hit, Continental has been very active in the relief process, operating relief flights into New Orleans and setting up City Ticket Offices at the Astrodome, Reliant Center and George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston to provide transportation to FEMA-registered evacuees in those shelters.
The Boeing 737-800 aircraft carrying the canines will depart from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The airplane will stop first in San Diego, where 50 pregnant dogs will "disem-bark." The flight continues to San Francisco, where the remaining dogs are going to foster homes.

The dogs going to San Diego are being received by volunteers from the Helen Woodward Animal Center. The center plans to place them with loving families waiting to adopt them.
The dogs going to San Francisco are being received by volunteers from several chapters of the San Francisco Bay Area Humane Society. These dogs also are being placed in adoptive homes.

"Continental's PetSafe program is known for the attention we give to pets as they travel," said Lisa Schoppa, PetSafe program manager, who will accompany the pets on the flight. "Each summer, Continental carries more pets than all other U.S. network carriers combined. Since we specialize in pet service, we were well equipped to meet the needs for this charter. Our flight attendants will treat these canine passengers with the loving care they deserve."

The dogs are traveling in kennels in both the belly of the aircraft and in the passenger compartment. The dogs come from shelters in the hurricane zone, which are unable to continue caring for them.
Continental is able to provide an aircraft for the charter because the human airlift from New Orleans has diminished as the population of the city has dwindled.



Posted by: Derek | September 12, 2005 10:41 AM

Two thumbs up to Continental!!

Good work. And may animal lovers around the country repay you for the care.

[And thanks for picking up where Delta left off in Augusta too]



Posted by: SandyK | September 12, 2005 02:57 PM

SOMEONE PLEASE Just let me know if anyone found Snowball or the boy.
No way that tiny dog could have survived without human intervention..whoops...it was the un-humane intervention that caused more unessary suffering. Even if the policeman was lame, what was that reporters disgusting problem!?

Posted by: | September 26, 2005 03:27 PM

I can only hope that there are people with more influence than I have who will see that these videos and links are read and seen.
The National Guard saved petl ives while the local police seemed to enjoy killing dogs.



JZ: Dogs Found Shot To Death In Louisiana Schools

Posted by: Tishams | October 2, 2005 08:43 PM

Has anyone been involved in a well intentioned rescue mission for Katrina animals that ended up not going as planned? I'm talking about promises for placing animals that were never fulfilled and animals being euthanized, as a result. I have been involved in such a project, to my great regret. I was pulled in at the last minute and assured that all my concerns were for naught--and now, all my concerns have reared their ugly heads.

I just think in the midst of the chaos of rescuing animals, there was not enough of a paper trail/watchdog effort put in place. We've all probably heard by now about the couple who took hundreds of dogs to their alleged shelter--but they actually neglected/hoarded them. The woman apparently had posed as a vet before (but had no such background).

It's awful to have to approach emergency situations with an assumption of distrust, but I can't believe we are the only group who didn't make good on promises--whether it was intentional or due to negligence.

Posted by: infogatherer | December 14, 2005 07:48 PM

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