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animal rights | faith & spirituality | katrina aftermath

If you can go now to New Orleans (or Mississippi) to rescue animals, do it!

It's even worse in Mississippi, but the efforts are even less organized there. These animals need your help. See if the airlines might provide discounts for rescuers too.
Television specials, such as last night's Dateline, focus on the happy
reunions. Below is a letter, a plea, from Jane Garrison, who is heading
up the food and water program from the Gonzales shelter for New
Orleans. It tells a different story -- animals dying daily for lack of people
to get to them and feed them. I forward her letter knowing that many
of you, bless you, have contacted the major organizations saying you
wanted to volunteer but have been told that your unskilled services
aren't needed. Jane's letter, from the front lines, makes it clear that if
you can get yourself to Gonzales, and are willing to sleep in
uncomfortable conditions in a tent or car or RV, you will be saving lives every
day you are there.

Below her note I will paste the shelter address and a list of supplies
recommended. I do recommend going through the official means, such as
volunteering through the HSUS website, www.HSUS.org. But their volunteer
web-page, which still includes questions such as, "Can you stay in the
area for five days?," (as if a three day stay would not mean life or
death to however many animals you can feed in three days) still has a
tone likely to discourage people. Please don't let it discourage you. And
if the HSUS office is overwhelmed and cannot get back to you quickly,
please don't let animals die while you are caught in red tape. I am sure
Jane's letter below will convince you that if you show up willing to
help without having successfully jumped through all the right hoops, she
will not turn you away.

Subject: I am begging the animal community

Dear Friends:
I have been at the hurricane scene in New Orleans for over two weeks.
In this time I have organized search and rescue teams and food and water teams (for
the animals on the streets). I have personally pulled hundreds of animals
from roof tops, attics and houses. It has been amazing to me that these
animals are still alive. I got a dog off a roof a few days ago who should have
weighed 90 pounds but was down to 40 pounds from being stuck on that
roof with no food and water. These animals want to live and are showing us
this everyday.

Here is the problem:
We still have 3,000 addresses of homes where animals are trapped. These
are addresses where people have called either HSUS or LASPCA and asked for
us to rescue their animals. I know that there are thousands of other homes
where animals are trapped that no one called about. I know this b/c I have
rescued hundreds of animals from homes after hearing barking that were not on
our lists.

CONSIDER THIS: Amazingly we are finding that half of the homes we get
into have animals still alive. With a MINIMUM of 3,000 addresses that is at
least 1500 animals who are waiting behind closed doors for a loving hand to
rescue them. With the current teams we have now we can only get into
approximately 300 homes each day. The animals will NEVER be alive if we continue at
this rate. I am begging each and everyone of you to get to New Orleans to

It does not take a "certified disaster rescuer" to break into a house
and at last provide fresh food and water (to sustain that animal until someone
qualified can get them out). We only have a week at most to save some
of these desperate animals. Please do your part...we are all the animals
Jane Garrison

Louisiana SPCA Shelter established at:
9093 St. Landry Rd.
Gonzales, LA 70737
225-647-0712 (This number may not be answered.)

Food and water volunteers should report to Jane Garrison outside the
volunteer food tent by barns 1 and 2. There is a 6am briefing every

Note: Large air-conditioned vehicles in which animals can be
transported are still needed. But Jane's note makes it clear that anybody with
transport for him or herself, who can go to houses and feed animals,
regardless of being able to transport them, is needed. If you don't have
your own transport, but can get yourself to Gonzales, you will be paired
up at the daily 6am briefing meeting with somebody who has transport.
OR -- the shelter desperately needs people to work there.

FEMA now has a large air-conditioned tent in which volunteers can
sleep. (Though it is safest to bring a tent just in case.)

Some dogs on the ground have become dangerous. Some risks are due to
contaminated water. Animals who have consumed this or stood in the
water for long periods may be sick. You may also be exposed to water/mud
yourselves. You also need protection from mosquitoes and wild animals. Overall,
depending upon where you travel, you need to come self-sufficient, as if
preparing for a camping trip.

current Hepatitis vaccinations
current Tetanus shot
pepper spray
hand sanitizer
insect repellent
first aid kits

thick "bite-proof" work gloves
sturdy, waterproof (rubber) work boots/shoes
long sleeve shirts
long pants
belt (to hang gear/supplies from)
mouth coverings (surgical masks, bandannas)
eye protection (sunglasses)

containers full of gasoline
waterproof walkie talkies
D batteries
toilet paper
other personal-care items
Kate Danaher, who has just come back from Gonzales, has sent the
following note:
"I just returned from 7 days on-site at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center in
Gonzales, LA. Volunteers are desperately needed to clean shelter cages
and walk dogs, to drop food and water to feed animals in the streets
and stuck in houses, to do data entry of notes from the field, to clean
crates, and do general site organization and clean-up. If you are
interested please call me. I can brief you on my experience and give you
directions on what to expect and how to get right to work when you

Do not need supplies. Need strong loving and patient people to work
very very hard under very challenging circumstances.
You are NEEDED.
Please consider this call for help.
I look forward to hearing from you."

Kate recommends bringing spray paint, for marking and dating houses
with food and water drop dates (what you did at the house) and also water
markers to mark your vehicle as LASPCA, pad and pen for field notes, a
crowbar for breaking in if necessary, and maps of New Orleans. She is
happy to provide guidance for anybody ready to go. Her number is:

Brenda Shoss at Kinship Circle is also an excellent resource for
information on volunteer efforts at the various shelters.
Her email is  info@kinshipcircle.org
desk: 314-863-9445
cell: 314-795-2646