Log 23 - 2 October 2005
The work of the American Humane Animal Emergency Responders continues on our third day in Lake Charles. Partnering with the Calcasieu Parish Animal Control Department, our teams of volunteers continue to go door to door in devastated neighborhoods. This involves walking house-to-house, knocking on doors, checking backyards, looking through windows in order to determine any signs of pets in distress. A week after Hurricane Rita, many residents still have not returned due to power outages, the lack of safe drinking water, and the thousand of downed trees and limbs blocking the roads. Many smaller neighboring communities suffered 80-100% total destruction.
Our teams of responders are finding animals that were left behind, often tied outside with no food or water. This weekend, many teams have come across small “backyard farms” with a few goats, chickens, pigs, and sometimes a horse or two. These family farms create unique challenges for our teams. With stores and business still closed, finding goat feed is a little more difficult than finding dog or cat food. Also, gaining entrance into some of the enclosures can be challenging. At one home, volunteer responder Connor had to climb over barbed wire and an 8 foot fence in order to feed a hungry momma pig and her four piglets.
American Humane is partnering with Maryland’s Days End Farms Horse Rescue for the care of injured horses. Allen Schwartz with Days End has been assisting American Humane Responders with horses as well as goats, pigeons, and pigs. He is an experienced horseman and has been asked to transport sickly horses, many who were outside in pastures and corrals as Hurricane Rita blew through the area. During a recent reconnaissance flight our volunteer helicopter pilot spotted two horses stranded in a pasture and the only water to drink was contaminated with oil. Allen and a team of responders located the horses and managed to get them safely into a trailer and evacuated.
Our teams of responders are distributing thousands of pounds of Pedigree dog food to the area, this is critical because stores are still closed. Often times, teams find that one neighbor (who stayed through the hurricane) is feeding many of his neighbors pets. A week after the hurricane, these good neighbors are running out of food and are very grateful to see the American Humane responders arrive with truckloads of dog and cat food.
By going door-to-door, responders are finding animals left behind to fend for themselves before the storm. These animals have had no food or water for a week and are bounding through the house or across the yard, overjoyed to see our responders.