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January 27, 2010

Notes from Haiti: American Dogs, Rabies Vaccinations

Kelly with Haiti dog

HSI responder with Deiter. HSUS

Today, the HSI team and two veterinarians from Christian Veterinary Mission met with the chief veterinarian of Haiti's Ministry of Agriculture, to discuss urgent animal needs and problems as well as future relief and assistance.  The ministry is seeking our immediate cooperation with the restoration of its rabies vaccination program.

The HSUS and HSI are also working to solve the problem of restrictions on the evacuation of pets owned by Americans leaving Haiti to return to the United States, reaching out to the American Red Cross, the Centers for Disease Control, and the State Department to smooth the way for the safe and swift transport of these animals.  HSI is developing a list of the animals and families affected; making plans for a temporary holding area in Haiti should it become necessary to shelter them in place; and working on a system for transport of animals to the Dominican Republic, where we are engaged with our partner group Veterinary Care and Human Service in developing a temporary holding facility for animals brought across the border.

Our team has purchased vehicles to support the ground teams in their work.  Staff member Dave Pauli will lead the second wave of HSI/HSUS/HSVMA response, as part of a larger team scheduled to arrive in Port-au-Prince on Saturday, January 30.  Team members driving into Haiti from the Dominican Republic have agreed to transport Christian Veterinary Mission personnel involved in relief work.

Dieter and Bella, the two dogs who have survived both Hurricane Katrina and the Haitian earthquake disaster, will arrive in the United States today for reunion with their family.

One HSI responder is going to Jacmel, Haiti's fourth largest city, to assess urgent and near term animal welfare needs there.

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