AN EMAIL I RECEIVED FROM RESCUE WORKERS FROM NEW ORLEANS. PLEASE READ AND IF YOU GO DOWN THERE FOR A FEW DAYS, PLEASE GO. THEY PROVIDE FOOD, ETC. FOR YOU..
As I mentioned last week, The Humane Society of the U.S.’ highly trained Disaster Animal Response Teams are in New Orleans and Mississippi coordinating a multi-state animal rescue-and-recovery effort to help the thousands of pets who have been abandoned, lost, and severely injured. However, even though they have approximately 200 people doing search-and-rescue and staffing temporary shelters, it’s not enough. They desperately need more people to help! (See notes below from two volunteer rescuers.)
For all those who donated money to this effort, thank you. But, if you can travel down south for a few days, please go as soon as you possibly can
. Please visit www.hsus.org
to fill out the on-line volunteer form (click on “Want to volunteer” under the heading “How You Can Help”) and someone will get back to you to assist your travel.
As always, thank you!
Sent: Sunday, September 18, 2005 1:43 AM
Subject: Louisiana desperately needs volunteers
I just spoke with Garo Alexanian who I've known for thirty years. He's
down in Louisiana at the Gonzales shelter at the LaMar Dixon Expo
center. They need volunteers. It's like hell there. The nightmare is
just beginning. He wept on the phone. Garo is a strong man and his
heart is broken to see such suffering. He says it's going to take
months to make a dent in this horror. The press is not telling the
whole truth. The majority of the animals are alive, roaming the
streets, hungry, thirsty, and scared--and in desperate need of help.
They need a constant stream of volunteers. He asked me to talk to
people to try to get them to volunteer, even if it's just for a few
days. He instructed not to bring anything for the animals, just
themselves. It's people who are needed in this horrific situation.
There's not enough people. They need people, people and more people. A
constant stream of volunteers is necessary if these dogs and cats'
lives are going to be saved.
While the human tragedy is being managed and underway, the animal
tragedy is just beginning.
Please tell people to call me if they are considering volunteering and
need to talk. My phone number is 212-608-5909
Thanks so much,
212 608 5909
I will carry this rewarding experience with me always. I will always see all those innocent eyes looking at me with love an gratitude as I walked them, feed them, washed them. They are so full of love.
I also want to make this point before continuing, not to brag or pat myself on the back but to let people know that even though the work is hard, just about anyone can still make a contribution. I am not a well person, I have to herniated discs in my back, need knee replacements on both knees, have asthma, anemia, etc. I walked dogs for 4 hours straight, from 8-12 then I took a lunch break and went back to work cleaning cages for several hours, ate dinner and walked dogs till 8 or 9PM. Yes I was exhausted but I was able to do it. Of course everyone is different but this is to say not every physical "handicap" should get in the way of people volunteering, also if you feel unfit but want to help, you can work with the cats or small animals or just feed and water....EVERYONE CAN DO SOMETING. NOTHING IS TOO SMALL. Also, they DO ENCOURAGE people to take breaks as needed. I pushed myself ONLY because there were not enough people to the work....the more people there are, the less work an individual has to do. PLEASE, if you can help, HELP, don't make excuses.
WHAT IS NEEDED FOR THE ANIMALS
They DON'T NEED food donations. THEY NEED PEOPLE, PEOPLE, PEOPLE
. THEY NEED VETS and VET TECHS
Astonishingly, the animals are still alive, they have suffered thru 3 weeks with no food or water in the most brutal heat…It is now the 11th hour, though, and now they will start to die. And the reason will be LACK OF VOLUNTEERS.
The gov’t and society in general, has let the animals down. But if the rescue community does not come forward, they have let the animals down even more. I know not everybody will be able to go, but those that can, MUST. There is no reason for excuses.
If you plan to go out on rescue this is what is needed: Large air-conditioned vehicles in which animals can be transported as well as food and water, because when you go out in the AM you must take a supply of food and water for the animals as well as for yourself. If you don’t have such a vehicle, don’t let it stop you. You can still team up with a group. But the more vehicles, the more groups can go out.
Some gear you will need:
-- thick "bite-proof" work gloves or at the very least heavy kitchen rubber gloves
-- sturdy, waterproof (rubber) work boots/shoes, at least ankle high
-- long sleeve shirts – for rescuers
-- long pants- for rescuers
-- belt (to hang gear/supplies from)
-- mouth coverings (surgical masks, bandannas)
-- eye protection (sunglasses)
-- flashlights, crow bars/axes etc for breaking into houses
-- Possibly containers full of gasoline in case you run out of gas on a rescue, I don’t think there are operational gas stations in N. O. (not sure)
-- maps of New Orleans
-- spray paint, for marking and dating houses with food and water drop dates (what you did at the house)You will be briefed each AM before going out and set up in teams of 3-4 people.
They have mostly dogs there, but a lot of cats, some exotic birds, snakes, lizards, turtles, rabbits, horses, pot bellied pigs, chickens, etc. NOTE: Most of the dogs there are Pits and Rotties. MOST have not been fixed and the females seem to be used for breeding. I was told that dog fighting is a “cottage” industry in the 9th District of N.O. I was told that approx 70 pits have been stolen and while I was there. BE ON THE LOOK OUT. I NEVER LET A PERSON LOOKING FOR THEIR PET GO UNATTENED. If you see something you think is suspicious, call one of the Barn Managers. BETTER TO ACT SAFELY ON BEHALF OF THE ANIMAL….Any one stealing a dog is obviously not doing so to give the animal a loving home.
THIS IS WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FOR YOURSELF
I spent 4 days at Gonzales so I am not an expert on everything that is taking place. I can only give you my honest observations. IT IS SAFE. We drove from NYC thru Kentucky to Mississippi to Louisiana and had absolutely no trouble at all. Upon Arriving in Gonzales, at the Lamar Dixon Equestrian Center, we had no trouble getting in, we just said we were invited by the LA SPCA and they let us in no questions asked. YOU WILL NOT BE TURNED AWAY. There are police, army personnel, etc for your security. I never felt unsafe.
You do not have to be self-sufficient. We spent a lot of $$ on food, water, supplies, etc, only to find everything was provided there. They have a huge, air conditioned “tent” with army cots, but you can come in an RV or bring your own tent and camp on the grounds. They provide bottled water, Gatorade, soda, juice, 2 hot meals a day, both veg and non-veg, plus snacks, granola bars, cereal, various canned foods, PB&J etc. They have a medical tent on site. They have sun-block, hand sanitizers, latex gloves etc. If you want to bring stuff any way, no problem. There are showers, toilets, laundry facilities etc…They really treat the volunteers well and with respect. They really do value our contribution.
It would be wise to get current Hepatitis vaccinations & current Tetanus shot.
Anyone needing more detailed info can contact Kate at: firstname.lastname@example.org
or at 415-459-1149, or contact me at: email@example.com