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February 1, 2010

Haiti Update - Feb. 1

Haiti dog vaccine

Humane Society International response team vaccinates a dog in Haiti. HSI

The full HSI/HSUS/HSVMA complement assembled in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Saturday, January 30, for the second phase of our animal response mission, most team members traveling by road from the Dominican Republic. 

Team leader Dave Pauli held several meetings with representatives of the Christian Veterinary Mission (CVM) during the weekend, to better coordinate efforts and to make joint appraisal of urgent needs and priorities. 

Visiting the U.S. Embassy, the team determined that the USAID and the USDA were effectively dealing with the safe transportation of pets of evacuating U.S. families. Team members also met with representatives of an airline, a contact that might prove helpful should it become necessary to transport animals out of Haiti in the future.

The team also returned to the mission that had housed the Katrina dogs Bella and Dieter, where veterinary personnel examined and wormed three staff members' dogs. Then, at a major market/camping area, the team caught and treated six street dogs. They also met some more missionaries who invited them to schedule a visit to their ranch to inspect the health and condition of animals and tell more about our work.

On Sunday, the team made its second visit to a zoo operated by Baptist missionaries. Overwhelmed by the needs of the surrounding human population, they welcomed the team's offer to assist with the animals. For the birds, the HSI/HSUS/HSVMA team suggested a better diet, cleaned and reworked cages and space, and provided items for enrichment. The team expanded the primate pen to offer twice the previous amount of space and added enrichment opportunities there as well. Finally, team members fixed the rabbit hutches and removed sharp wire from the goat pens. In all, they helped approximately 50 animals on the visit. The team is working to locate and arrange for the transport of additional supplies and food for animals at the facility.

In between assignments, team members arranged meetings with regional mayors, agricultural producers, and other stakeholders, to work out a plan for near and long term follow up on animal welfare assessments.

The team's schedule also included a visit to a damaged granary to help with an assessment of necessary repairs and the potential for local production of animal feed, currently scarce.

On Saturday night, several members of the complement attended a "cartoon party" being put on by CVM for the children of one damaged village. 

Meanwhile, everyone was delighted to hear that two dogs belonging to a U.S. family had made it safely to Florida and enjoyed a happy reunion, thanks to the work of HSI/HSUS/HSVMA. 

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