Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Another Volunteer's Perspective

From a CT shelter volunteer that just came back from New Orleans:
Hi All, I got home late last night from Louisana. I'm still trying to process everything I've seen and done, not to mention trying to get the stench out of my clothes! We went to the LSU temporary shelter, which is well run and organized. They really have their act together and it's a great place to volunteer. Next stop was the Lamar Dixon Expo Center(aka Gonzales), the large"clearing house" facility. LA SPCA, HSUS, ASPCA, and VMAT are in a power struggle over who is in charge. It is total chaos. They don't have anywhere near enough people to care for the 2000 animals (average) and are turning away rescue groups bringing more animals in after sitting in line for hours. This place is HUGE, and the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. Dogs and cats sit for days waiting for vet care even if illness is obvious. Many do not get out of their crates for 2+ days. There is no leadership, no system, and the animals are suffering. Vet care is obtained when they get the chance, and only after a request is put in the "inbox", which happens to be a bucket. Volunteers are so burnt out they are in tears. There are some very sick animals who are put in makeshift "wards" in the barns. No bleach bucket outside for shoes, and no where near any acceptable level of sanitation."Triage" doesn't happen regularly, not enough vets & vet techs. The Parvo stalls are in the middle of everything......people in & out of them constantly, and going directly in stalls w/"healthy" dogs. All dogs & cats are kept in crates of all kinds. We got yelled at by VMAT for moving a puppy into a wire crate instead of a veri-kennel after being told to do so by HSUS. Don't know if it was because she was a pit pupand therefore most likely not going to make it out of that hellhole after all she'd been thru- she was air-vacced off the 610 bridge- or what. There are huge buses, vans, RV's, tents everywhere, representives of different states for each large group. Animal Planet had their bus there, and PETA was driving in as we were leaving. That's all well & good, but the "negotiations" for control is disgusting. Whoever gets the gov't "grant" (aka "Contract") runs the show, and makes some nice $$. There are pallets of food, water, crates, etc from Walmart, Petco, Petsmart,and a bunch of others. They just don't have enough people to clean &walk all these dogs, let alone feed, water, and med. They DESPERATELYneed more people to do the basic stuff. We hooked up w/Pasado AnimalRescue & did door to door searches for animal survivors in New Orleans.It is mind-blowing how many pets are still alive, though many are goingdown hill fast. Wednesday we did water rescue in an area that was still flooded, and pulled over a dozen dogs out of houses where they were trapped. We found animals alive in homes that were boarded up & barricaded, having to break in using any means necessary to get to them. The stench is unreal, and most homes are booby-traps- furniture and appliances thrown everywhere by the flood waters, the mold, sludge and god knows what makes walking in very dangerous. You DO NOT want to fall and get that stuff on you. The situation changes hour by hour, let alone day by day. They are beginning to release animals to rescues at least.From what I saw, at least 50% of the dog population is Pitbull/Pit-mixes, approx 25% Rotties & Chows, and the remaining 25% every breed you can imagine. Some of the rescues are taking Pits & Rotties, tho Lamar Dixon may not be allowing them out, Pasado & LSU are. I know there are other groups as well. Save A Dog is still there and flying in volunteers. They are also doing door to door rescue in the city now. IF ANYONE CAN GO PLEASE LET ME KNOW! Hotels are not an option. If you go, plan on sleeping in a tent (bring your own), or your vehicle. Personally, I recommend the vehicle.....Fire Ants are everywhere, and from personal experience, they will find you. I spent 2 nights sleeping in a horse stall before they realized I was there (the ants), but once they did, it was all over. Their bite is EXTREMELY painful and leaves blisters that turn into something resembling a pimple. Nothing seems to kill them. Showers are a luxury,if you can get one. Bring your own food & water, medical supplies, Rubbing Alcohol, bleach, etc to decontaminate yourself after handling the animals, who are still covered with dry toxic sewage.This effort will be going on for months, and people will be needed all the way thru. Right now, the dogs & cats (and every other creature you canimagine) are critical. Many are dehydrated and starving, and it is aVERY ugly scene. I hope things will improve. If anyone goes now, beprepared to separate your personal feelings from what needs to be donejust to get these animals some help. Hopefully it will improve over thenext few weeks/months, and someone will be in charge and get thingssomewhat organized. For those who can't turn off their feelings and just do the job as bestthey can, don't go now. Wait until it gets better. If you have a strongstomach, and can stay focused on just taking care of one at a time, youare needed now. Feral dog packs and cat colonies were well established in New Orleansprior to the hurricane......now they are feeding off each other, andwhatever they can find. It is truly horrible. The animal populationproblem is beyond belief. Out of some 300 dogs Pasado Rescue pulled,only TWO males were neutered, and I think ONE female. There are dogs who were severely neglected prior to the hurricane, mange is very prevalent, and god only knows what else. Most of the Pits have had there ears cropped back to their heads...."Home Jobs" done with scissors or knives.The whole thing is just surreal. I did not dream at all while I was down there, probably due to exhaustion- we were up at 6 am and lucky to get to bed by 3 or 4 am. The nightmares are starting now, and I can't get the images out of my mind. I try to focus on the ones we've saved, and pray they get into homes. Enough for now, this is too long as it is, and I'm starting to cry again. Barbara Pepper

Hurricane Katrina Animal Rescue by Julie Burge, DVM

This is a journal of her experiences in Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina.

Update on AFA's Help

Date: Fri Sep 16, 2005 9:12 amSubject: THANKS From Mattie Sue ...From: msathan@aol.comFriday, AMRick Jordan is here with the AFA truck, at last, we are consolidating materials to send east with him intoMississippi, the heart of the devastation. We have been wonderfully inundated with an amazing outpouring of needed supplies. THANKS THANKS THANKS. We probably have most of what we need now except daily stuff like paper towels, toilet paper, computer paper, computer Ink (HP DeskjetPORKCHOP-style black and color ink cartridges) I think we have more coffee than Columbia! And some of it is delicious. If anybody sends any more coffee, could it beCool Brew Toasted Almond -- on, no, that's from the NewOrleans Coffee Company, I wonder if that will be possible to get). THANKS EVERYBODY! We still need people. The first waveof volunteers are pretty close to burnt out from almost-round-the-clock work. Nothing is perfect, but it's looking more and more organized. Instead of simply reacting, we are starting to be able toplan. We have experienced rescue workers on the way (so far, we're long on sweat and enthusiasm and short on disaster experience). One plan at this time is to send every bird home in a better cage than it came in. You'd be amazed at what had been thrown together to get these birds out. A cage that falls apart is a lost bird, and I lost a parrotlet trying to take it down from a high hook still hanging over toxic soup yesterday. We'll have to go back and try to capture that bird today. The military, local police, and highway patrol remain very, very helpful in getting us in. Actually, yesterday, we had one van break down, so we had only two vehicles and we could hardly get out as the highway patrol officers called us over and over to come back for other animals. Then, of course, probably after having to drive off road around standing water (there are still addresses we've been asked to reach that we can'treach),
(Edited by PPN)

New Update on 911ParrotAlert Rescue Work

Here is a link to some pictures taken at Donna's house of some of the birds which have been rescued from the New Orleans area.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Rare Quaker Colors

Check out these beautiful Quakers in all their many wonderful colors!

Can You Help with the 911ParrotAlerts Work in Louisana?

What is needed:
Send donations to Donna Powell, 16365 Woodmere Ave, Baton Rouge, LA 70819. The organization is 911 Parrot Alert. At this time, checks should be made out to Donna Powell. (She is completing FEMA paperwork for the 911 Parrot Alertorganization.)

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED. They need volunteers to help with the birds (give food and medicine, clean cages, assemble cages, etc.). They also need people who can type the band numbers and descriptions of the birds into a database. (A digital camera would be a good idea.)

ACCOMMODATIONS. The volunteers are staying at Donna's house in BatonRouge (80 miles north of New Orleans). There are several bedrooms and sofas and lots of space. They have electricity, water, washing machine and dryer, etc. Bring a cot or air mattress and sleeping bag. If you have a tent or camper, that would be helpful.

EQUIPMENT & WHAT TO BRING. There are a number of volunteers going into New Orleans to rescue birds. This requires rubber boots, long pants, gloves, hard hat, etc. Disposable paper clothes are useful. If you have a shot record, bring it. TAKE SUPPLIES (food, safety gear, etc.)

GETTING THERE -- GAS AVAILABILITY. You'll be able to get gas ifyou're coming from the north or west. Coming from the east, you'll need toget gas BEFORE Pascagoula, Mississippi.

COMPUTERS. They would like a faster computer. Donna's is an older(slow) computer and many people are trying to use it. The could also use a laptop with a wireless card. Mattie Sue said this is the best way to communicate in New Orleans.

BIRD RESCUE. They went into buildings to rescue birds. Some were alive, others had drowned. They did get a couple birds back to their owners. The animal shelters have hundreds of dogs. They're asking the bird rescue folks pick up the birds.

PHONES & HELPING. They don't have the staff to answer the phone and it's extremely hard to call in. There are more calls than the lines can handle. Priority is given to outgoing calls. They ask that is you can help, come. There will be a place for you to stay.

WHAT DO THE BIRDS NEED? Mattie Sue asked for toys for the small birds. There are(correction) about 300 birds. A large number of them are cockatiels and budgies.

INFO FROM TEXAS BIRD GROUPS. There are trucks from the Houston area taking supplies to Donna's home/911 Parrot Alert on Thursday, Friday, andSaturday (September 14-16).

Here's another e-mail from Mattie Sue (09/13/05): Subject: Re: Sense of order (lack of) Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2005 22:59:57 - 0400 Donna picked up 50 and KARE picked up 38 and we got about 30 from LSU,so more than 100 came in on Monday. Yes, we still need lots of help, but we need it in a concerted way, including administratively gifted individuals who can do more than get birds, wash cages, wash toxic soup off emaciated survivors. We made it into the city today. Nightmare like something from a science fiction movie. Mold and high water mark and starving dogs foaming at the mouth in deserted streets. Luckily we had lots of dog food to strew on the streets. Saw an expensive collection of mostly macaws, bodies of drown birds, if only they had raised the cages. The water made it just to the top of the cages and the birds drown in their cages. Three blue and golds managed to escape (well, they were pairs, so there were probably four, but we didn't stay in the mold and chemical covered room to find the other body) and survived because they weren't locked in their cages. Yes, we may have 500 by the weekend, but we still need help doing exams and evaluations and cataloging, monitoring, planning appropriate diets, trying to find owners of, and caring for the 200-300 we have. We were able to return two cages of small birds to their happy owners today. FEMA is convinced that the owners will come back to Louisiana to reclaim their pets within two weeks. It will be interesting to see if that happens. xoxoxo, ms

Update on Hurricane Katrina Relief by 911ParrotAlerts

Via the internet we have received the following email that was sent out by Mattie Sue Atham who has flown down to help with the relief work in Louisana being done by Donna Powell with 911ParrotAlerts:
On Mon, 12 Sep 2005 11:09AM "Mattie Sue Athan" writes:Weather is nice, water is drinkable, there is power, but otherwise the bird rescue situation is awful down here, need people to feed babies, medicate sick and injured birds, go pickup birds, assemble cages, feed, clean, build. More than a hundred birds already here, more than a hundred coming in today, expect 400-500 by the weekend. Companion, breeder and baby birds being sent here from LSU Veterinary School and many local shelters which are overflowing with dogs. Don't call, don't write, just come to Donna's house at 16365Woodmere Ave, Baton Rouge, LA 70819, my phone number is918-812-1099, but T-mobile towers are iffy here.Please. Many hands and minds are needed. ... If anybody can't come, but they have a friend who can, but can't afford the gas(it's $2.49/gal here, maybe a freeze on prices), give them money and put them into the car. There are a dozen or so volunteers here. Everybody left to go pick up more birds. I'm supposed to medicate, haven't slept, having trouble understanding meds directions. It's far, far, worse than I imagined. I've got a fresh bottle of whiskey, but no coffee. I'm drinking water. What a nightmare.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

911ParrotAlert Helping Katrina Victims

The Nature Chest Bird Shop and two very generous customers have been aiding the relief effort being provided by 911ParrotAlert in the Lousiana area affected by Hurricane Katrina. This group is providing a much needed help to the birds and their humans affected by this storm. Here is a description of the group:

911 Parrot Alert is a young but growing organization (founded by Donna Powell in June of 2004) with the sole mission of finding, rescuing and returning lost or stolen companion birds to their rightful families. This organization is a major web presence, with over 3,000 members working in concerted effort to save every bird, one at a time, and reunite it with their family if possible.

When Katrina struck New Orleans, 911ParrotAlert responded immediately by answering distressed summons’ from evacuated or evacuating households to rescue and foster their feathered pets until their owners could come back and claim them, as in many cases owners were not given the option to bring their animals with them to shelters. 911ParrotAlert is currently based in Baton Rouge, which was far enough away to avoid a lot of the disaster but close enough to be useful in recovery efforts. Offering direct rescue and long-term sanctuary is considerably beyond the scope of 911ParrotAlert, which is normally just to find and return lost birds, but the crisis and resultant needs were too great to ignore.

911ParrotAlert works very closely with Dr. Tully at Louisiana State University to care for and maintain these parrots until they can be reunited with their owners. Contact has been made with the American Federation of Aviculture, ASPCA, HSUS, KARE and other animal welfare groups, to recover and maintain exotic birds left behind or escaped during the hurricane. Both K.A.R.E (Knapptime Adoption Rescue and Education) and Mattie Sue Athan, the well-known author of companion parrots, have traveled from their respective bases to directly lend their hands in this crisis.

911 Parrot Alert members have organized into Task Force Teams, soliciting donations of cages, food, supplies, veterinary assistance and transportation to deliver them to the areas where rescued birds are being cared for. The response has been overwhelming and the 911 volunteers are tireless in their endeavors to save these birds from starvation, disease and death. Veterinarians, avian caregivers and administrative support people are flowing in from all over the US and Canada to help, on-site, with this mission.

Donation & disaster-related information may be obtained via Internet at www.911parrotalert.com

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

Here is a page to help you find a rescue and relief group to aid the victims of Hurricane Katrina, both humans and birds and animals. Thank you for your help.