head efforts to rescue pets in Katrina aftermath
Thursday, September 08, 2005
By Linda Wilson Fuoco,
A North Hills veterinarian is driving to
Louisiana tomorrow with antibiotics, dog and cat food, kitty
litter, portable kennels and other items to care for animals
caught up in the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina.
Dr. Jennifer Wooderson is part of an
ever-growing army of animal organizations, veterinarians and
individuals who are mobilizing to help the flood's animal
The reach-out to animals has two fronts:
There are concerns for the animals and for the human victims who
are searching for pets, and there are concerns that the animals
pose health and safety risks to humans.
Bowmer, Associated Press
A dog is leashed by a rescuer
yesterday in New Orleans.
The four-legged victims of Katrina include
28 horses and mules that have been rescued from the New Orleans'
French Quarter, where they had worked pulling carriages.
At least two of them have died, despite
the efforts of veterinarians, veterinary technicians and other
volunteers who are working at two animal-triage areas -- one at
a coliseum on the campus of Louisiana State University in Baton
Rouge, La., and another at an exposition center in Gonzales, La.
Staff and students of the LSU School of
Veterinary Medicine are heavily involved in the rescue and care
efforts. LSU graduates, including Wooderson, who graduated this
year, are driving from all over the country to join in the work.
She was a lifelong Louisiana resident until July, when she
joined the staff of the Bradford Hills Veterinary Hospital in
Wooderson will deliver supplies donated by
veterinarians and vendors as well as items donated by clients of
the North Hills veterinary hospital. A fund has been set up for
cash donations. When she gets to Baton Rouge, Wooderson will be
donating her veterinary services.
"The animals that are coming in are in
terrible shape," said Wooderson, who has been in contact with
LSU staff and with rescue workers. Cuts and lacerations have
become badly infected because, for days, the animals have been
in the bacteria-laden water contaminated with fecal matter,
chemicals and corpses.
The animals themselves pose hazards to
The decomposing bodies of dead horses and
cows are adding to the health problems in the hurricane area.
Hungry dogs running at large are known to "pack up," like
wolves, and can become dangerously aggressive in their hunt for
Other organizations working at both animal
triage sites include the LSU AgCenter, the Louisiana Department
of Agriculture and Forestry, the Louisiana Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the Louisiana Animal
Other veterinarians are coming to the aid
of Katrina victims through the American Veterinary Medical
Association and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The AVMA has deployed four medical
assistance teams to the Gulf Coast. Each team has 50 to 70
members, including veterinarians, technicians, epidemiologists
and toxicologists, trainers and animal handlers. Their work
includes decontaminating living animals and disposing of the
Animal rescue workers are also trying to
reunite lost pets with their owners.
Among the thousands of crushing images
from last week's deadly hurricane, one brought the anguish home
to many: a tearful little boy torn from his dog while being
shuttled to safety.
It tugged at the heartstrings, prompting
people from around the country to hunt for both the boy and his
dog Snowball in hopes of a reunion. They've been scouring
shelters, posting notes on the Internet and making phone calls
to track them down.
One woman set up a Web site to help people
pair up pets with their owners. Another set up a reward to
encourage someone to come forward with information on Snowball's
or the boy's whereabouts.
"Everyone wants to know about Snowball,"
said Laura Maloney, executive director of the Louisiana Society
for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The boy was among the thousands sheltered
at the Superdome after the hurricane. But when he went to board
a bus to Houston, a police officer took the dog away. The boy
cried out "Snowball! Snowball!" -- then vomited in distress.
The confrontation was first reported by
The Associated Press. Authorities say they don't know where the
boy or his family ended up.
Jean Jones, 56, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.,
runs puppymillrescue. com and launched another site,
to help pair Snowball and other lost pets with their owners. She
also started a reward fund, which hit $3,000 yesterday, hoping
money might persuade people to help out.
Many of the animals -- dogs, cats, ferrets
and birds -- that police collected at the Superdome were herded
into a stairwell until the human evacuation was complete. Of the
50 animals rescued from the Superdome on Sunday, not all
(The Associated Press contributed to this report. Linda
Wilson Fuoco can be reached at
Posted on Thursday,
September 09, 2005 @ 05:30 CDT