VANCOUVER, September 4, 2019 - The Humane Society of Canada has launched a global appeal for donations to buy food, bottled water, veterinary supplies, rescue equipment and to transport them to the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Dorian. “Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and the families affected by Dorian,” says Michael O’Sullivan, Chairman & CEO of The Humane Society of Canada.
“We are also asking people to remember animals, often the forgotten victims in such troubled times, says O’Sullivan.” The animal charity says that while there are hundreds of relief agencies working to help people, working alongside them are only a relatively small number of groups working to help animals.
“Each one of these hard-hit communities, having lost so much, includes families who are missing their animals. Orphaned and injured wildlife are also at risk,” says O’Sullivan who has worked in disaster and war zones around the world. He says that he has no illusions about the staggering challenges faced by people and animals in overcoming the impact of this terrible disaster. “What we accomplish here will be measured by saving one animal at a time. We are talking about tens of thousands of dogs, cats, birds, livestock and wildlife who have been affected and still need help.”
The animal charity is working in partnership with the American Humane Association which was founded in 1877 to make sure these funds and emergency aid get to where they are needed most.
A Message to Canadians
In the early days of the emergency response, there had been reports that some US government officials in the past in specific disaster zones had been preventing animal rescue efforts in the mistaken belief that this would take resources away from the relief and recovery efforts that make the evacuation of people more orderly and effective. Based on our experience, and that of others, and borne out in particular by the people most affected by the disaster, it instead had the opposite effect, as people understandably resisted leaving their special family members behind and refused to evacuate, increasing the risk to people and animals in the disaster zones.
Along with many others, The Humane Society of Canada knows that people and animals could and should and are being rescued from the disaster area, relying on the expertise and resources of human and animal rescue and relief teams working tirelessly alongside one another in search, rescue, relief and recovery operations. With everyone’s combined dedication, efforts and strength of purpose, people and their animals are not the forgotten victims of hurricanes.
Numbers and Kinds of Animals At Risk, Rescued and Receiving Field Care
Dogs, cats, birds, rabbits and other small animals, horses, farm animals and wildlife are all at risk. Younger and older animals and those requiring special care and medication are in the greatest danger. Animals trapped in low lying areas are still in immediate danger from contaminated floodwaters, and those on higher ground or those animals that could climb had a greater chance of survival, however, exposure to heat and lack of clean water and food will have taken its toll on some animals. Any bird or any wild animal that can swim as a part of his/her natural behaviour and those animals which have a varied natural diet would have an increased chance of survival.
The nature of the rescue and relief operations in any disaster zone means that there are always conflicting reports about the numbers and types of animals affected and those which have been rescued and are receiving veterinary care; those which have been reunited with their families; or stray animals receiving care through field stations (some animals are so frightened that they cannot be captured immediately because they will not allow rescue teams to approach them).
Timeline of Relief Efforts
The following phases represent the overall animal rescue and relief efforts when disasters strike:
Disaster preparedness with news of approaching hurricane
Evacuation before and after hurricane makes landfall
Needs assessment after hurricane hits including estimates of number and types of animals affected, widespread and localized nature of impacts, topographical review of areas of high ground and flooded areas, numbers and nature of illness and injuries inflicted on animals and relationship with human disaster relief efforts
Initial and ongoing effective collection, transhipment, secure storage and delivery of supplies and trained rescue personnel and volunteers
Rescue & shelter large numbers and wide range of animals and establishing effective lines of communication to effectively coordinate disaster centre, field, shelter, veterinary and relocation and adoption efforts with animal rescue and field operations
Veterinary triage examination and treatment for specific injuries ranging from heat exposure, dehydration, lack of food, wounds, secondary infections to psychological trauma
Providing emergency food, water and veterinary care for stray animals through field feeding stations until other rescue attempts can be made
Identify and reunite as many lost animals as possible with their families
Adoption of strays and those animals not reunited with their families
Recovery and rebuilding efforts for local animal shelters, veterinary clinics, stables and other animal facilities
Aftermath assessment of disaster preparedness and emergency response
Incorporation of animal rescue and relief strategies into local disaster and emergency preparedness plans and practice drills
Preventing and reducing to whatever degree practical the frequency and intensity of natural disasters through more effective community and internationally based environmental policy, planning, implementation and monitoring strategies
Donation of Supplies
Animal food, bottled water, veterinary supplies, temporary shelters, animal carriers, fencing, pet id supplies, communications equipment, survival gear, batteries, generators, compressors, vehicles, boats, specialized animal rescue equipment, spare parts, gasoline and diesel fuel, tools, building materials, logistical support for animal rescue workers, digital cameras, office supplies and computer equipment are all in demand. We have received many messages from people across Canada and from other countries that have small, individual donations or collections of these kinds of items, and we are grateful for their kindness and their generosity of spirit. However, at present, it is difficult to logistically collect, transport and distribute these items in small quantities and we are working to resolve this issue. Please watch our website for further updates in this regard.
We are asking for donations to purchase these supplies locally and to transport them to the affected areas.
Volunteer Animal Rescue Workers
We have received many messages from concerned people in Canada and other countries who want to become volunteer animal rescue workers and to travel and work in the disaster zones. From experience, we know that this is very demanding and dangerous work. The person needs to be in excellent health and be properly vaccinated against a number of diseases such as hepatitis and tetanus, and preferably, also vaccinated against rabies. Because resources of all kinds are in short supply in and around the disaster zones, people need to work with a recognized and authorized animal rescue group and must be entirely self-supporting and provide their own funds, accommodation, transportation, food, clothing and health care needs and insurance. Because of the nature of this emergency, people with previous disaster relief experience and animal care personnel are being selected first.
Local, state and federal officials including the US Department of Homeland Security and FEMA are those which determine access for rescue workers to operate in the disaster zones. There is no guarantee that if people travel on their own to these areas that they will be allowed in to help unless their efforts are coordinated by authorized animal protection organizations working in the field. Simply showing up with a truckload full of people and supplies will not contribute to the rescue efforts.
Raise Funds for the Humane Society of Canada Dorian Relief Efforts
On behalf of the animals, thank you for caring,
Chairman & CEO
The Humane Society of Canada
CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll-free 1-800-641-KIND or at www.humanesociety.com via twitter at www.twitter.com/HSCanada and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Humane-Society-of-Canada/211468055538280
The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and small animals, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. We carry out hands-on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard-hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, use a multidisciplinary approach, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres, and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.
The only organization of its kind, seven days a week, The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works across the street, across Canada and around the world helping people, animals and the environment.
The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) depends entirely on donations to support our programs to help animals and the environment. All donations are gratefully acknowledged with a receipt for income tax purposes. If you would like to support our educational campaigns that protect animals and the environment please make a donation here. Because when it comes to fighting cruelty and violence, we don’t give up. Ever.