Hurricane Leaves Owners Desperate About Pets Whereabouts

Friday, September 2, 2005
Houston, TX
Animal welfare groups are being inundated by calls from pet owners who are searching for their missing pets in the wake of devastation left by Hurricane Katrina. IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org) has teamed up with United Animal Nations (UAN), Code 3 Associates Inc., and local SPCA branches in Houston, Texas to respond to the massive problem, and to assist with temporary housing of rescued animals.
Local animal groups have now evacuated at least 300 dogs from New Orleans to Houston, where the Houston SPCA is caring for them and another 500 are expected tonight. Many were smuggled into shelters and evacuation buses by desperate New Orleans refugees fleeing the hurricane disaster. With Baton Rouge swelling under pressure from the mass inflow of refugees, Houston is now becoming the staging area for these and other animal relief operations.

IFAW has now set up the first of its temporary emergency bases in Houston, and will over the coming days, be supporting the establishment of temporary animal shelters in coordination with the Houston SPCA.

“The demand for assistance is growing daily as this disaster deepens,” said IFAW Program Director A.J. Cady. “We at IFAW are committed to assisting local animal groups through this tragedy, and are calling on all our supporters to help us do that.”

There is also good news in the midst of this tragedy. Yesterday, local groups managed to rescue more than 100 dogs from the Metairie Small Animal Clinic in Metairie, Louisiana. IFAW and others had been preparing for this risky rescue, but local teams were able to safely rescue the animals from the clinic. Accommodations for these and hundreds of other animals are now urgently needed.

IFAW is currently appealing for donations to assist with this critical response. At least US$130,000 is necessary for immediate operations. IFAW has announced that 100% of all funds raised will go directly towards Hurricane Katrina response efforts, including immediate animal care and the rebuilding of animal shelters destroyed. To make a donation visit www.ifaw.org/us/katrina or phone 1-800-932-IFAW (4329).

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