IKE Update 09/18: Heartbreaking Horse Rescue
The following is an update from IFAW Emergency Rescue team member Michael Booth currently in Texas
The great majority of cities and counties are still without basic infrastructure, no electricity, no water, not a safe place to be. Nevertheless, we are still here, working around the clock to care for the animals affected by this natural disaster.
The day started out bright and early, the sheltering team stumbled out of their tents and it took a second for them to get their bearings. Having arrived past midnight from their duties at Animal Shelters in Austin, they were now waking up in Anahuac, Texas.
Shortly after, we mobilized to the local Fairgrounds, the designated area for the animal shelter. Working as a fined-tuned machine, the shelter was ready to receive the first animal within a couple of hours after arriving. That first animal, which was a male Labrador, was named Ike, for obvious reasons.
As Ike was going through the process of intake, the local Animal Control contacted IFAW for advice on what to do with a juvenile lion and tiger that had escaped their enclosures in a nearby area, were notably stressed and had taken refuge in a nearby church!
I immediately headed to the local Sheriff's department with a deputy from the Chambers County Animal Control to meet the veterinarian tasked with capturing these big cats. IFAW has incomparable expertise in Big Cats both in the US and in country offices like India, Russia and China. We have moved dozens of lions and tigers in the US, and work with Wild Animal Orphanage (WAO) in Texas to provide a better quality of life for these animals.
We are waiting for an update on these tigers as we speak and offered our resources to transport these animals to an appropriate sanctuary like WAO.
The rest of the afternoon was as busy and exciting as the morning. Sheltering teams were up and running in both Orange (with 6 dogs so far) and Anahuac (12 dogs and 2 cats). These numbers will surely increase in the coming days. Search and Rescue Teams were deployed to comb the city for stray or abandoned cats and dogs, and a third team was taking care of horses, cattle, goats, and other animals in need of help. Among the fields, a massive amount of debris was scattered around. You can see refrigerators, recliners and TVs spread out between cows and horses which make for a surreal scenery, a sad realization of how strong Ike's surge was at the moment of landfall. A particular rescue was really heartbreaking, we found a very thin horse, clearly suffering after he was pinned down to a barbwire fence by the strong hurricane winds of Ike. His entire left side was badly cut by the wire, the good news is that this horse now has plenty of food, and a safe home to make a full recovery.
All in all a very busy and long day, we are all tired but grateful that we can be here doing what we love. Thanks to your support, IFAW continues to work 24 hours a day in Texas in the aftermath or Hurricane Ike.