The numbers were staggering: 8,000 animals were displaced in
Louisiana and Mississippi, and more than 1,000 volunteers came
to help with the animals. The Louisiana SPCA set up a temporary
shelter at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales, LA, normally
the site for festivals and horse shows.
Rescuers scoured New
Orleans for lost pets and brought them to the temporary shelter
25 miles from the city. The Expo’s huge open barns
were lined with pet crates, carriers and cages filled with
pets, some scared and some barking for attention. There were
or air conditioning, but there was a building with several
showers and a cafeteria. Supplies and volunteers were plentiful,
and corporations generously gave what was needed.
According to its Web site, Noah’s Wish steps in when pets
owners are not able to safely evacuate their animals, do not
have a place to shelter them after they have been evacuated,
or when human evacuation shelters do not allow animals. The not-for-profit
organization was established in 1983 by Terri Crisp, a California
homemaker, to rescue pets when their owners can’t be
there for them.
Noah’s Wish is located in Placerville, Calif., about 40
miles east of Sacramento. Crisp is a veteran of 66 major disasters,
including the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City and
the December 2005 Southeast Asian tsunami. Her knowledge of animal
rescue and care during disasters, and her ability to interact
and coordinate efforts with emergency response personnel, health
and welfare agencies, and local animal organizations makes Noah’s
Wish an unparalleled resource for animals.
Noah’s Wish is not the only organization that came to the
animals’ rescue after Hurricane Katrina. Three employees
of the Hawaiian Humane Society spent a week in Louisiana
caring for animals displaced by the wind and flood waters:
a veterinary technician; Johnny Diaz, who processes incoming
animals; and Cindy Kantor, an adoptions counselor.
When a disaster like Hurricane Katrina hits, “everyone
knows they need to help,” said Kantor. “Some
help by giving money, some donate supplies, water and food;
by giving my time.”
The three were sent in response to a call from the Humane
Society of the United States (HSUS). Since HSUS does not
shelters, there was a tremendous need for experienced shelter
workers and veterinarian staff.
Noah’s Wish’s serviced animals in Slidell, Louisiana
at St. Tammy’s parish. Right after Hurricane Katrina
struck, they rescued more than 750 animals and put them in
housing at Camp Katrina, the Red Cross Family Assistance
Center at the former Lowry Air Force Base.
Noah’s Wish, like the wish of all animal volunteers, is
eventually to reunite all the animals with their rightful owner.
If that is not possible they’ll put the animals up