Scroll down to see what was floating around the streets of New Orleans.

Hurricane Katrina Pictures

Images of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

Dear Bent Bay

In the past few days, we have all watched in horror and disbelief at the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina.

In the midst of this tragedy, all of us at The Humane Society of the United States have been heartened by the tremendous outpouring of support for our disaster relief efforts in the region. I'm proud to say that because of your support, our response to assist animals and their caregivers has been immediate.

Shortly after the hurricane slammed into the Gulf Coast, HSUS teams were on the ground determining the areas where the most critical relief was needed. Today, experienced HSUS rescue staff and volunteers are working with state officials, federal agencies, and other organizations to evacuate animals out of the hardest-hit areas. They are also establishing pet-friendly shelters and delivering supplies, resources, and medical assistance.

In Louisiana, we’re helping to set up an emergency facility at the Coliseum in Baton Rouge where strays will be brought, evaluated, and then transported to safety. While thousands of people are being evacuated from the New Orleans Superdome and relocated to Houston to be sheltered in the Astrodome, HSUS volunteers are helping transport animals from evacuees arriving at the Astrodome and ferrying them to the temporary shelter, which will be fully operational today.

In Mississippi, seven HSUS disaster field teams left to conduct damage and needs assessments and to provide help as they find needs from Jackson south to the Hattiesburg area. The HSUS team includes about 35 trained responders and 8-10 vehicles (plus trailers and RVs), including the HSUS Disaster Response Unit. Team capabilities include companion animals, horses, farm animals, and wildlife. The team leaders are pushing very hard to get help to Gulfport, Mississippi, but at this time Route 49 is open only to state-authorized emergency vehicles.

We will continue to keep you updated on our efforts and we expect to be granted more access to the hard hit areas over the weekend. So many pets are trapped and alone, and we are determined to find and rescue them. And we plan on being there as long as it takes.

Again, I want to personally thank you for your generosity at this time. Quite simply, we would not be able to provide the relief needed for stranded and injured animals in a crisis of this magnitude without your help.


Laura Bevan
Incident Commander
HSUS National Disaster Animal Response Team
Jackson, Mississippi


Hurricane Survival Kit

Be Prepared

Hurricane Survival Kit

Toilet Paper................................... .....check

Bud Light................................... ........check

Keystone Ice..................................... ...check

Budweiser............................... ............check

Red Dog..................................... ........check

Misc. other bottles of alcohol......................check

Piece of plywood to float your chick and booze on...check

Next time let's all be more prepared.


Katrina one year later

Dear Bent,

This week marks the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. As I look back on both the tragic event itself and the weeks that followed the disaster on the Gulf Coast of the United States, I am filled with both pride and resolve.

Pride. Approximately 15,000 animals were rescued by IFAW and other humane organizations under extremely challenging conditions. Despite its many tragedies, Katrina served as an example to all how far people will go to risk their lives for their animals. This was a wake-up call to government that pets cannot be treated like property.

And just a few weeks ago, the U.S. Senate passed the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act, which requires local and state disaster plans to include provisions for household pets and service animals in the event of a major disaster or emergency.

Resolve. Despite these incredible successes, an estimated 250,000 pets were left on their own to fend for themselves in an abandoned city after Katrina hit. The hurricane exposed the gap between owners’ devotion to their pets and the inability of shelters and rescue officials to provide for them.

Here are a few of the things IFAW is currently working on now to help make sure pets are not forgotten when the next disaster strikes:

Organizing and training NGOs in better animal search and rescue techniques as well as how to provide more efficient and safer emergency shelters.

IFAW, along with several other major humane organizations, initiated collaborative spay and neuter efforts in the US gulf coast states of Louisiana and Mississippi. We are also conducting a survey of pet owners in the area to determine where animal welfare education is most needed.

The two year collaborative project includes voucher programs that use local vets, fixed high volume clinics servicing a 90 miles radius in each state and a mobile spay and neuter clinic servicing areas not provided for by the fixed clinics. It is estimated that over 50,000 surgeries can be conducted in the first two years, resulting in fewer animals euthanized by local humane shelters and animal control groups. So far the voucher program has sterilized over 800 animals and distributed 1,586 vouchers in Mississippi as well as many in some of the hardest-hit parishes of New Orleans.

IFAW has offered to be on standby for search and rescue efforts and emergency sheltering in Louisiana should disaster strike here again.

Purchased a new trailer with state-of-the-art communications equipment that will enable us to work more efficiently with local, state and federal agencies and other NGO's to get information out to the public quicker.

I thank you for being a part of this incredible recovery effort which continues today.

Fred O’Regan
President and CEO, IFAW

P.S.You can read more about IFAW’s emergency relief efforts around the world, including the latest news about Katrina pets, on our new Animal Rescue Blog.

A dog rescued in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is brought to safety.
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