Saturday, October 01, 2005

David arrives home but continues work - October 1

Posted by David Meyer

I arrived home to San Francisco late last night. It was a long day of travel, capped off by having to have my brother drive me back to the airport in Oakland, where I originally left from and where my car was still parked. It was very hard to get away and everyone is concerned about what will happen to the structures I helped set up, but Jane Garrison and I are in close contact. Even after being home for just a few hours, it is becoming apparent to me that I’ll actually be better able to coordinate things from here right now, without all the craziness and pandemonium on the ground there. I can really focus and stay on task.

I brought with me a black cat I rescued who is in fairly good health. I will foster her and, hopefully, she’ll get reunited with her owner. Unfortunately, the whole system of processing pets is honestly a nightmare, and doesn’t always work in the best interests of owners who want to find their pets. The system of entering pets into the database on is a good idea, but apparently it is not working the way everybody hoped it would, as many owners go to Gonzales and are told that their pets have been shipped to a humane society somewhere, but there is no further tracking information given. It is such a sad situation. I have personally received two phone calls from frantic owners about just that in the last few hours. I really hope the system works to unite my little black kitty with her owner.

Lamar Dixon is shutting down in an inexcusably fast manner. I am avoiding placing blame and recrimination in these updates because I know everyone, from HSUS to Petfinder to me and everybody I met is doing their best and means well. But we are scrambling to find new locations to take the pets we are continuing to rescue. The facility said they would take only critical cases for one more week, but now they have said they won’t even do that. I have tried to express that a while their definition of “critical” is pet in critical health and near death, in reality, a pet left in a destroyed city who has not eaten or been seen by a vet for a month, with no knowledge of when or if their owner will ever return, is in just as critical a situation. You might be in good health, but if you are on a train track in front of a speeding train, you are in a critical situation. So all pets must be evacuated and placed somewhere safe and tracked so their owners can find them.

I have attached (above right, click to see the full image) an example of the database and mapping system Dorothy from, the folks at Mapquest, and I set up so you can see how we direct our people in the field to the places where people left their pets behind. These addresses were given by people who called into the HSUS hotline to request immediate rescue of pets they had to leave when they evacuated the city. Organizing this database into a workable format should have been done day ONE of the crisis, and so many people are so angry it wasn't. Miraculously, we are still finding some pets still trapped, but alive. Many others have drowned or have simply starved to death due to the time it took for rescuers to find them. It is horrible, just horrible and no words can describe what I and our team of people there have witnessed and experience. No words.


Blogger Jessica Klarkson said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Margaret Barry, RD, LDN said...

Our appreciation for all you've done and continue to do.

"Animals are more than ever a test of our character, of mankind's capacity for empathy and for decent, honorable conduct and faithful stewardship. We are called to treat them with kindness, not because they have rights, power or a claim to equality, but in a sense, because they don't. They all stand unequal and powerless before us." -- Matthew Scully

1:25 PM  
Blogger Kate Danaher said...


Major rescue group needs a place to set-up a temporary shelter since Le-Mar Gonzales closing. If you live in the neighborhood you can even ride around and look for spaces. We need a space to save hundreds and hundreds of animals. With no space, there is no more rescue. If you are a local resident, call the Parish gymnasiums, check out farms in your area and barns. E-mail me immediately with any leads. Also do you have storage facilities, if you can call or check them out. Look up warehouses on computer etc. Abandoned churches, anything. PLEASE PASS THIS POST ON EVERYWHERE e-mail me your direct contact number or e-mail .URGENT-HELP THE RESCUE CONTINUE

Hi everyone! This is Mark writing to you from Jane's email. I just spoke with her, and received an update on the activities in New Orleans. The state Vet has advised that they are no longer to accept anymore animals at the Lamar Dixon Expo center. To combat this recent decision, Jane has found another location. However, in the last hour, there is a problem with that center. Jane is desperate for a new location. A farm, barn, warehouse or other location that can be set up to house rescued animals. The rescue effort is not done! They are still rescuing about 100 animals from homes every day. The ones that they are finding dead, did not die from the hurricane, but are dead from starvation/dehydration. They've been found in
carriers, and curled up on their people's beds. The clock is still ticking! So please, if you have a source for a location, please respond ASAP.

As for help, they are still in need of people to come to New Orleans to perform various task. Yes they still need those who can rescue and feed, but they also need those who can do shelter work, administration work, check in animals, drive them to shelters, etc, etc. Lamar Dixon is still housing the volunteers, just not taking in any animals. Please go down ASAP. New
volunteers are to meet at 9 pm between barns 1&2 for orientation/direction. They meet again at 5:30 am to get going and to be briefed on the days activities. Please contact me and I will get a message to Jane. Thanks for your help! Mark

P.S. For those who have extensive email list/web sites, please post this as soon as you can. Thanks!

P.S.S. The national groups have pulled out of New Orleans as per orders of the state vet, Jane isoperating the rescue efforts on her own with the help of the volunteers. Please help!

P.S.S.S. She just called me to advise that they need Vets as well. (difficult to respond to email- PLEASE JUST COME- WE NEED PEOPLE DESPERATELY!!!!!)

3:39 PM  
Blogger Kelly Smith said...

I wish I would have researched many, many more hours to find a group who would accept me to volunteer for the very upcoming weekend of the week the news started showing devastating animal pictures. I left my information at many pet organization websites, as well as signing up to be a foster parent to 2 or 3 animals. The replies came back requesting money, citing various reasons why I should not "just show up" at one of the makeshift shelters (I thought I could help feed/water, walk, clean, and provide comfort to innocent, scared pets). The reasons were that I must be trained, I must stay there weeks as opposed to my offer of an entire weekend, and sometimes no acknowledgement of my offer, just an advertisement to click here to donate cash.

When I read about people like you, Jane Garrison, and Eric (?), I realize that I did not pursue my wish to help enough. There are obviously groups helping the pets who do not require "the moon" of their volunteers.

My very mature 11-year-old stepdaughter even begged to let her come when I told her what I wanted to do. The next day, while awaiting a reply to any of my e-mails, I saw a young girl of my stepdaughter's age "helping" at one of the main animal intake shelters. Undoubtedly, her mother brought her along to help.

It seemed I encountered huge stumbling blocks that I could not seem to hurdle. We would have taken our van that we could sleep in very comfortably. We were going to bring our own food/water and try to bring donated supplies collected from pet stores. We would have been able to personally bring back 2 or 3 pets to foster and love until they could be united with their owners.

Sadly, after a couple of weeks of frantically searching for word from anyone that I should come help, I had become employed and no longer had the freedom or same days off as the rest of the family, and volunteering had become impossible.

I am ashamed for not showing up, in spite of the impossible obstacles I was being told about.

I will forever hear the wailing of terrified dogs during a news reporter's clip and I will forever see the video shots of precious pets hanging in trees for dear life and the picture of a precious beagle being rescued from a crumbled house.

Incidentally, to this day, I have never been contacted by anyone taking me up on my offer to be a foster parent for any victim's pet (after leaving my info with at least 7 websites).

If you have anything I can do from home on my computer or telephone, I would still love to help in some way. I work from home doing medical transcription, but I have time to volunteer from home.

Bless you for all you have done and continue to do.

Kelly Smith
Villa Rica, GA

6:09 AM  
Blogger jean said...

This is what I needed tonight. This story touched me beyond words. For one, it is beautifully written and filled with such stong feelings of love and pride and hope and the beauty of life. You should publish it. In fact there are many stories that could be published in a book sold for the animals. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your heroic efforts. Jean Sagredo

7:52 PM  
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