Log 22 - 30 September 2005
Our day began at 6:45 am with a joint briefing of American Humane Association responders and local Animal Control Officers. Our first priority was to do a door to door sweep of houses on Goss Ferry Rd, a dirt road along a river on the outskirts of town. Most of the homes are on stilts. There is significant damage to that area with lots of downed trees and power lines.
The teams went out in two person groups per vehicle. Each vehicle carried a variety of equipment and supplies to assist the responders with rescue operations. Everything from catch poles, carriers, water, maps, gloves, leashes, bowls, and hundreds of pounds of food. Plus supplies for the responders, which for Louisiana includes lots and lots of insect repellent!
We arrived at Goss Ferry Road to find thousands of downed trees. This neighborhood has remained evacuated since Hurricane Rita blew through. In the week since, many pets have remained alone to fend for themselves. As we drove down the dirt road, dodging large limbs, tree trunks and power lines, we found some stalwart neighbors who had stayed throughout the hurricane. These people had been feeding neighborhood cats and dogs. But after a week they were running out of food and were very happy to see our American Humane Responders arrive.
After attempting to work our way down Goss Ferry Rd. we had to turn around because of the degree of devastation. We simply couldn’t get our vehicles around the large trees and lines that lay in the road. The power lines, in particular, were a concern. We didn’t want to take even the smallest chance of having anyone injured. After returning to the shelter, we pitched to help with the numerous calls coming into the parish’s animal control department. So we teamed up with local officials and helped them out with the animal assistance calls.
In one of those “you never know” moments, responders Mark and Katie received a call about two dogs that had been chained up in a yard since the Hurricane. These two dogs not only survived the Hurricane but went for more than a week without food or water. As Katie and Mark fed and watered the two large dogs in the yard, they heard barking coming from inside the house. Mark found an open window and climbed through with Katie in tow. Inside they found yet another dog left without food and water, this one was in the process of giving birth! Our responders, desperate to help, found a very anxious and nervous mamma dog who did not want their assistance. After leaving food and water, Mark and Katie left the momma dog to finish giving birth without the stress of their presence. They will return later to check on the pups and see if the owners had returned.