Despite reminders to pet owners to evacuate with their four-legged companions, some people still chose to flee the fury of Hurricane Ida without them, resulting in hundreds of calls to animal shelters. of the region.
“We get a lot of calls about people who have left pets in homes, even though we’ve been messaging for years to take your pet with you,” said Ana Zorrilla, CEO of Louisiana SPCA. “A lot of people took their pets with them. But there are still quite a few animals that are in really hot greenhouses. These animals are in danger.
Zorrilla said the LA-SPCA gets “over a hundred calls a day,” while the Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter gets twice as many, and they’re acting on every one of them.
Jeff Dorson, executive director of the Humane Society of Louisiana, said more than 30 animals – including a 13-year-old blind Cocker Spaniel – were rescued from the side of the highway near Lake Charles.
“They pretty much give up their animals and let someone else clean up their mess,” a frustrated Dorson said.
The New Orleans-based Humane Society of Louisiana moved to Tylertown, Mississippi, so they could begin sending supplies to shelters and rescue groups affected by Ida, and transporting the animals out of danger.
“Whenever there is a disturbance in the Gulf, we reach out to our partners and say, ‘Would you like us to come and get your animals?’ so they are not affected and they have room for incoming animals, ”said Dorson. “We’ve probably made four to six transports since Ida landed.”
These animals are sent to the company’s partners across the country. (Locals can volunteer to help or donate money here.)
Southeast Louisiana Shelter Fight
Before Ida, a Category four leviathan, made landfall, the LA-SPCA evacuated nearly 160 adoptable animals. The majority went to the Houston SPCA.
He then moved the animals from his Belle Chasse building to the New Orleans refuge, as the structure of the Plaquemines parish tends to be inundated.
“We just didn’t feel it was safe to leave animals there, given the intensity of the storm that was hitting us,” Zorrilla said.
Widespread power outages made it difficult to care for the nearly 200 animals at the shelter. One of the two buildings is cooled by a generator, but the other building, where most of the animals were housed, is not.
Zorrilla’s team transferred some animals to more comfortable surroundings and transported others to organizations outside of New Orleans, including Operation Kindness in Dallas.
“This building is just too hot for the animals,” Zorrilla said, adding that the stuffy building is also affecting its employees. “Cleaning takes a lot of work. So in that kind of heat, we’re really struggling right now. “
Zeus’ Place, which operates an animal shelter, dog daycare and grooming center at three locations in New Orleans, protects animals at their generator-powered Freret Street facility until they can be evacuated.
“We are able to keep the animals cool until we can transport them,” said Michelle Ingram, owner and manager of Zeus, noting that they have been coordinating transports with Humane Society of Louisiana all week.
“Fortunately, we have enough water, we have a generator, and we have all the food and supplies we need for at least another week,” Ingram said. “Right now our biggest challenge is staffing, as most of the employees have evacuated. “
Only four people currently care for 113 animals. (Learn to help through their website.)
The human-animal relationship has also posed a problem for the Louisiana Boxer Rescue, which operates a reception program for Boxer breed dogs.
Five members of the association have been caring for 25 puppies in Jonesboro, Louisiana, since they evacuated them from the New Orleans subway via an SUV trailer and motorhome. Boxers now roam a 20 acre site of land.
“We are very lucky,” said Connie Back, executive director of Louisiana Boxer Rescue. Yet securing funds to refuel the trailer for the return trip to New Orleans remains a daunting prospect. (The association accepts monetary donations through its website.)
Other ways to help
The LA-SPCA has teamed up with the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority and set up “pet refrigerated buses” next to city cooling stations for humans, and distributes animal food on these sites.
Supporters can make contributions for food through the LA-SPCA website. The organization delivers the food in trucks, rather than one bag at a time, Zorrilla said.
“We work with our local feed stores that have pet food,” she said. “We just need to be able to buy it and distribute it to the community.”
LA-SPCA also rescues animals that are injured or suffering from heat stress, Zorrilla said.
If anyone spots an abandoned animal, they should call LA-SPCA rather than trying to remove it, added Zorrilla (821-2222 for Orleans Parish; 349-5360 for Jefferson Parish).
A cow was rescued from a tree in the parish of Saint-Bernard this week after Hurricane Ida caused severe flooding in southeast Louisiana.
“It’s really important for animal control to come out and assess the animal,” Zorrilla said. “In the parishes of Jefferson and Orleans, we are providing food and water for the animal at this location, if it is safe. We don’t want to take them to a building that doesn’t have electricity, where it’s going to be even more dangerous.
But first (for next time), evacuate with your pet, Ingram said.
“Don’t leave them behind,” she said. “We were inundated with calls just before (Ida) that people wanted to hand over their pets to us because they didn’t want to evacuate with them.”
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For abandoned animals, call LA-SPCA at (504) 821-2222 for Orleans Parish, (504) 349-5360 for Jefferson Parish. Do not try to move the animal.
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