May 12, 2011
Field Notes: Night Rescue Teams Set Traps to Catch Lost Pets
Traps are set for lost pets; families encouraged to bring animals to shelters; and cockatiel is reunited with owner
Last night's trapping team captured 11 animals in Tuscaloosa. Two cats were reunited with their owners right out of the traps. The night field team will resume saturation trapping tonight at seven and will work until 3 a.m.
The community outreach staging area at Crescent Ridge Road and Virginia Drive closed today. The primary staging continues at Alberta Baptist Church. The need for pet food and supplies in the community is confirmed by the steady stream of storm victims that arrive, some on foot, to receive the donations.
HSUS Alabama state director Mindy Gilbert met with the city attorney, who serves as president of the shelter advisory board. He wants to bring a spay/neuter clinic to the area and improve the current shelter building, and address the issue of feral cat colonies. The local ordinances do not include cats and currently animal control does not handle them. They are the real animal victims in this disaster as they have survived only to be trapped and turned over to a shelter that ordinarily does not do much with cats. We are working to identify adoption programs that may be able to absorb some of these feline survivors.
Perhaps the most notable reunification was when Tweety, the little yellow cockatiel with no tail feathers, was picked up by his owner. On our first day of staging, Tweety walked up to a citizen who brought him to us. What a tough, cheeky little guy.
We continue to work with the ASPCA to care for hundreds of animals at the temporary shelter in Kennett, Mo. Today, 29 animals were returned to their families. We set May 17 as the last date for owners to pick up their animals, after which they will be considered abandoned and turned over to the Caruthersville Humane Society. We expect animals to keep trickling out of the shelter, but know that we will be left with some of the owned animals and are preparing to transport those animals.
All of the volunteers have worked very hard to learn procedures and adhere to decontamination protocols. The substantial networking and community our staff and volunteers established here shows how focused we all are on the common goal of making this shelter as safe and normal-feeling as possible for these animals.
The Natchez temporary shelter now holds 37 owned animals brought there by evacuating families. The shelter is fully staffed and equipped to handle 180 dogs and 35 cats, but could be expanded to handle more than 300 animals. About 25 residents came in today to verify that the shelter was open and that they could bring in their animals. All were given information and encouraged to bring their animals in as soon as possible. We are extremely well received in this county.
After a five-hour journey, we arrived in Tunica, Miss., to help rescue cats stranded on rooftops by the flooding. We will meet with local rescuers to begin rescue operations. We expect to return to Natchez, Miss., on Friday.