September 6, 2011
Animal Rescue Team Responds to Hurricane, Wildfires
Four puppies found near death are now thriving
Massive wildfires in Texas put animals in harm's way and forced thousands of people to flee. The HSUS is helping state and local agencies assess the needs and stands ready provide assistance.
The HSUS also continues to run post-hurricane emergency shelters in Vermont and North Carolina, and is providing desperately needed pet food to those who have lost so much.
The flooding in Louisiana was not as bad as feared and there were no significant evacuations in that state.
Forest fires in Texas
Wildfires destroyed approximately 500 homes and forced some 5,000 people to leave their homes in Bastrop County, Texas. Bastrop County Animal Control set up an emergency shelter for rescued animals and for the pets of people evacuating. The Bastrop County shelter had to be evacuated on Sunday and the animals were transferred to Austin Humane Society and Austin Pets Alive.
Yesterday, 27 dogs and 1 potbellied pig were brought to the emergency shelter. There was a concern that the fire was moving towards the emergency shelter so the animals were transferred to the Austin Humane Society and Austin Town Lake Animal Center. The HSUS is working directly with the local and national groups involved, including Bastrop County Animal Control, Austin Humane Society, and the ASPCA. We will provide sheltering and field rescue assistance if requested.
Operations in Vermont
Many shelters and veterinary hospitals across the state are housing animals displaced by hurricane Irene.
The HSUS discussed animal-related needs and resources with the state veterinarian, the head of the Vermont Veterinary Medical Association's animal welfare committee, and USDA Veterinarian Dr. Fredric Cantor. The Vermont Humane Federation is coordinating the distribution of a 40,000-pound gift of pet food from PetSmart Charities. The National Guard airlifted some supplies to areas still cut off from the outside world. We offered Vermont Agency of Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross our assistance with any large or small animal needs.
We visited the food pantry in Wilmington and purchased badly need supplies of cat litter. We will drop off more pet food today for distribution to affected residents.
Operations in North Carolina
Field rescue has ended and we are caring for 78 animals at the emergency shelter. A pug, a rabbit, and two cats were reunited with their families. After giving out more than 4,000 pounds of pet food, we are arranging to get more to the area to distribute, as the need is so great.
Small puppies in dire straits
While doing door-to-door welfare checks in North Carolina, we noticed several pens of dogs behind a flood-impacted home. In one of the pens we saw 5 four-week-old puppies along with the mother and another dog. The puppies were lethargic, had pale gums, and were unable to reach fresh water. One puppy had died, likely from heat stress. We provided the puppies with fresh water and asked that Animal Control Officer Berkley Hill respond.
The owners, when reached, were clearly upset by the loss of the puppy. They explained the lengths they went to to save their dogs from the rising flood waters. With the puppies' health declining, the owners asked that we take the puppies and their mother to our emergency shelter for veterinary care, fresh food, water, and air conditioning. Now the puppies have been seen by a vet and are thriving at the temporary shelter. Just yesterday they were playing for the first time.
According to the veterinarian, had they not been brought to the shelter they might not have survived.