We are approaching the ten year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and it still seems so unreal that dozens of us traveled to the Gulf Coast to offer assistance during this devastating time.
MAAN/ACN partnered with dozens of other rescue groups, veterinarians, animal control officers, firefighters, business owners and volunteers and made four trips to offer assistance and rescue.
Nothing could have prepared us for the heartbreak and devastation that we witnessed, not just for the animals, but for the people that we met and embraced along the way. The stories and visions are unforgettable and forever in our minds and hearts.
60,000 homes were destroyed, over 1,800 people lost their lives. No one knows how many animals died, but most estimates put the number in the tens of thousands. It was and still is hard to comprehend the loss of life, homes, businesses and lively hoods.
Our teams were able to rescue 223 dogs and cats that needed placement and brought these guys safely back to Michigan. We also delivered 15 truckloads of supplies and responded to calls from other organizations that were in desperate need of supplies.
Volunteers spent time at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales, Louisiana, which was serving as a temporary shelter to thousands of dogs, cats, horses, wildlife and exotics. The teams cleaned cages, walked dogs, helped organize and assisted the vets working from dawn until dusk with little or no sleep, most nights sleeping in our vehicles in 100 degree weather. Teams attended rescue meetings and were responsible for checking addresses with animals that needed help. The search and rescue part of this mission was the most difficult to deal with and the hardest to forget.
We also partnered with Gulf Coast private rescue groups in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. When these rescue groups and shelters became full we would assist by picking up dogs and cats in order to enable them to continue to rescue more animals from the disaster areas.
A majority of these animals had to be treated for health issues including heartworm, mange, ringworm, and many other diseases and all of them had to be spayed and neutered which became a costly endeavor for this many animals.
After all these cats and dogs had experienced and all the miles they had traveled, they still had their spirit. We could see a story in each and every one of their eyes. After this event, human and pet evacuation plans were put in place all over the country.
We remember you well Katrina and remember all the loss that took place during your tragic visit to the Gulf Coast in 2005.
Past articles regarding Hurricane Katrina:+69————————