Right in the middle of the 2016 hurricane season, a slow-moving low-pressure weather system has dumped as much as two feet of rain on numerous Louisiana parishes in just a 48-hour period causing massive flooding, homelessness, and an endless series of crises for people and animals. The HSUS, along with a number of regional and national organizations, is on the ground, helping at this dire time in Louisiana.
This is not a new playing field for us, sadly. We had a leading role in the Katrina response more than a decade ago, and our Louisiana state director, Julia Breaux, works with state agencies, shelters, and other partners on preparedness, policy solutions, and direct care for animals. After Katrina struck, we spent tens of millions of dollars there to improve humane infrastructure and generate other lasting benefits. We continue to support key institutions like the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine and a prison-based animal shelter at the Dixon Correctional Institute in the parish of East Feliciana. We’ve never left the state, and that’s one reason why we’re seamlessly on the ground now during this disaster.
Yesterday, The HSUS assisted in the transport of pre-storm dogs from Companion Animal Alliance in Baton Rouge to create more space for the influx of displaced animals coming in. Today, we’re doing the same thing with pre-storm animals from the Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter in Marrero. The HSUS is also collaborating with Jefferson Parish on the rescue of animals caught in flood waters in neighboring parishes. On our first day of rescue with Jefferson Parish we assisted a dozen animals stranded from flood waters.
The animals are moving to HSUS Emergency Placement Partners in Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, and Oklahoma where they will become available for adoption into loving homes. And on Thursday, The HSUS will assist with the transport of more than 30 dogs from Plaquemines Animal Welfare Society, damaged by heavy rain and flooding, to the Humane Society of Saline County in Arkansas where they too will be available for adoption.
We have a strong debt of gratitude to our friends at PetSmart Charities and GreaterGood.org for their generous support of our Louisiana deployment. They’ve been longtime partners in our disaster response work and their contributions make possible our continuing ability to respond when animals are threatened by natural disasters or human neglect. In this case, animals at risk are safe and waiting for return or adoption to loving homes and to the people who care for them.