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Katrina Front Lines- Road Warrior Report

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Just got this from a verified source. Caution- NOT for the faint-hearted. Hoping someone reading this can help out if they are close enough-

I have not read my emails - no time. Dawn Postma is monitoring it and will respond to you for me if necessary.

We are just outside Knoxville, TN. Everyone is sleeping. I can't.

I just left a nurse who worked at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans. She escaped with her dogs. Before doing so, hospital staff had their pets at the hospital. Some got out. Some did not. Some had to evacuate and euthanized their pets rather than leaving them to starve. I am speechless but I understand. A quick painless death is preferable to slowly starving. These people loved these animals and had to kill them. What could be worse? I am at a loss for words. It's so unfair and it sucks.

Lisa (the nurse) looks tired - like she's been through a war zone. She has drivenfrom New Orleans to Ohio to Pennsylvania to Maryland to here. She's going back to New Orleans tomorrow. She was moving dogs of family members to safe havens. She's tired. She's going back for more. Amazing woman.

We have 3 leads on places where we can take animals from. Please read this carefully if you are planning to come down.

Some places will not release dogs - period. Some only want you to foster locally. Our search is for a place where we can remove dogs. Rescues - if you remove dogs, PLEASE hold them for a while to try to reunite them with their families. Imagine if you were separated from your pets. Wouldn't you want the chance to get them back? How could you live not knowing what happened to them?

We want to help you by giving you specific contact information - where to go, who to talk to, etc. We plan to provide info on where you can take dogs from. This will likely not come until Monday night or so.

My thoughts are jumbled - my apologies - long day.

We have a route you can drive - some bridges are washed out. Lisa gave us detours.

Lisa is on my mind - she's half asleep and her only concern is the animals - in particular, one senior beagle she was forced to leave behind at her hospital. She is searching for her tomorrow.

Rescues - when you come - bring food - lots of it. We'll provide a list of what else is needed when we provide contact info.

I can't respond to any emails for a while so if you have questions, send them but be patient. I will compose a form email to all of you when I get back,

Good news is that we have over 20 new foster homes lined up as of 8 pm or so. I think we probably have at least 30 by now.

If you are interested, contact drpostma@aol.com and please be patient. She's working tirelessly to coordinate fosters.

We are tired but determined. We have a half-assed plan. Can't do any more without more facts. Won't have the facts until we hook up with some of the locals.

Our 5 new volunteers who came along with me, Carmen and Maribel are doing well. They're going to see some hard scenes tomorrow - especially when we have to pick which dogs go and which stay. You all know how it hurts to have to leave any because you can't move them out. They are basically sentenced to death and we know it as we look into their eyes. I hope this experience isn''t too hard on them. I hope it doesn't dissuade them from continuing to rescue. It's a hard way to start your rescue experience. Most of you are rescuers - you know that we can't save them all. Still doesn't help when you have to leave some behind.

We will gather and share as much info as we can so those of you coming down have a contact point and a game plan.

Reading this back, it sounds negative. It is in a way but I look at it as a rescue mission. We will save as many as we can. You will save as many as you can.

I can't stop thinking about the animals who lost their families - and the families who lost their animals. What kind of hell are they in? This is why we are requiring our fosters to hold animals for 3 months. We plan a nationwide campaign to get the word out about what animals we have. We will reunite them with their familes - I hope there are many, but realistically.....

This whole situation sucks. Why do the animals always get screwed?

I'm getting out of control here so I'm going to bed.

Don't worry - we are all safe. We are organized. We are dedicated. We are determined.

I'm just extremely annoyed at this whole damn situation. Those of you who know me know that I don't hold anger in. If I did, I'd explode.

If I can write more before our return, I will, but it's not likely.

They needs lots of help here......

Patti Stinson
Founder (inactive), 4 Paws Rescue Team
post #2 of 11
Thank you for posting this!

A lot of people are only seeing the cute and fuzzy side on the news of some animals that have been rescued. The truth is, behind the scenes, the rescues are OVERWHELMED with how many animals are in need of rescue. It is said at night in New Orleans all you can here is the wailing cries of cats and dogs hungry and abandoned. Most of the animals are going to die before they can get to them.

Go to www.nola.com for updated information. Go to the Pet Rescue forum. It is a New Orleans based forum with animals lovers TRYING to make a difference.
post #3 of 11
I want to ad that I'm very fearful for the cats Dogs will at least come out to greet people to let them know they are there. Cats have a tendency to hide when they are scared.
post #4 of 11
One or two people from my foster agency are planning to go to NO to pick up some animals. I have no idea how they will manage this.

I don't see how you could adopt out an animal, knowing it may have an owner looking for it! Maybe they will just foster until the owners have a chance to be reunited??? As I learn more, I will update.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
The group I am working with are only adopting out owner surrenders. But I cried this morning watching a CNN report, a reporter was standing on an empty street and doing his broadcast, in the background, when he stopped talking and gestured at all the houses, you could hear dogs barking and cats meowing- I just wish I could go there and scoop them all up-
post #6 of 11
Originally Posted by hissy
The group I am working with are only adopting out owner surrenders. But I cried this morning watching a CNN report, a reporter was standing on an empty street and doing his broadcast, in the background, when he stopped talking and gestured at all the houses, you could hear dogs barking and cats meowing- I just wish I could go there and scoop them all up-
They are BEGGING for people to save them before it is too late but the rescuers are having a hard time getting into New Orleans. It is important that everyone get in touch with the major news stations such as CNN, Fox and MSNBC and let them know that you care!
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
I know they are, and my heart is heavy with how frantic they all must be. If it had been me in that area before the hurricane and my pets were not allowed to go to shelters- I would have either stayed behind with all of them, or let them all loose and prayed they would survive. They have a sense of danger and I think most of these animals now trapped by four walls could have made it to higher ground- much like the elephants did before the tsunami hit. I have written to four different news agencies begging them to let rescuers take animals in their boats. No response from any of them yet- I can imagine their priority is the people first, and the animals are disposable after all- It just makes me heartsick
post #8 of 11
Thats heart wrenching.

Everyday I want to go down there and help, everyday that feeling gets stonger, everyday, pets are dying there.. and I feel like I can't do a thing about it. But I want to. >__>
post #9 of 11
I'm getting e-mails forwarded to me from people out in the trenches saving as many animals that they can. An interesting request that I saw this morning - they get a lot of offers from folks wanting to come down there and transport animals into foster situations. This person suggested that rather than doing that, we push for more adoptions at home to make room for the animals that are coming out of the hurricane area.

Everyone in my area is full and while they want to take in more fosters, they don't have the room - adoptions have been bad this year. Push for local adoptions everyone!!
post #10 of 11
This is the blog of someone who stayed in New Orleans during the storm, and is now rescuing pets. The people he works with have faxes from pet owners who left them behind, and give them permission (and instructions) on how to break into houses to rescue pets. It's a painstakingly slow process.

I was heartened to read two positive things. The coast guard and other rescuers have been leaving MRE's and water in houses with pets. And these guys (in the blog) also leave food and water out if they get to a house and they can't find the pets.

So so very sad.
post #11 of 11
I've heard from the ASPCA this weekend and they will have more info for me later this week. They are recommending not to go there by yourself but when one of the groups wants you. I have a small list of people from WI wanting to foster animals.
I was at a small indie pet food store in Wausau, WI on Sat and they had a semi ready to go for supplies however it did not sound like they are bringing any animals back. I'm going to contact them today just in case the truck gets there and there is an opportunity to bring some back.
The bestfriends website has been receiving 1000 phone calls and 5000-7000 emails daily so they are asking to stop requests for a few days so they can respond and they are working on an action plan for fostering/adoption.
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