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HURRICANE KATRINA AUG. 2005
Katrina invaded the Gulf coast with 22 foot high waves and an arsenal of wind and rain but the indomitable Diane Albers stood fast, reporting to TheDogPlace.org live from New Orleans.
On-scene report by Diane Albers, AKC Delegate, President Florida Association Of Kennel Clubs, Member Fla. State Agriculture Response Team, Disaster Animal Rescue Team, and friend to all dogs and those who love them.
August 30, 2005 / In the hurried calls to and from Louisiana, AKC judge, mover and shaker, reported on-scene the damage and the horror. What follows was recorded live by Barbara J. Andrews, SAAB member, transcribed by Denise Flynn. Read the September on-scene HSUS follow-up here
“Hold Tight. You can’t get in there now, Martial Law has been declared. What you can and must do is get organized, set up a collection point in your area for veterinary supplies and crates. Transportation is extremely important, large vehicles, trucks, and drivers to move the animals to Shelter.”
Diane went on to explain that it will not be until after the worst dangers like downed wires, buildings collapsing, and survivors have been rescued that animal rescue teams will be allowed in.
Diane advises "Please, don’t add to the confusion or complicate the rescue efforts, but DO ORGANIZE help!" She is organizing convoys from Florida and trying to help arrange similar efforts in neighboring states, particularly Texas. Her Group is "trying to locate people who stayed behind because they could not or would not evacuate and leave horses and other beloved animals to die." The reality is, some of those people died and not knowing who survived, if they are injured, where they are, well, it’s driving everyone crazy...
Don’t clog this line!!!! 800-597-2987 Call only if you can offer: Shelter, Transportation, Supplies (veterinary, bedding, crates) Specialty Foods.
Diane is in constant touch with AKC’s Dennis Sprung. As in other times, help is there. AKC has been magnificent in response to Hurricanes Charlie, Gene, Andrew and other disasters. Dog food was sent byIams and Purina and Diane believes other manufacturers can be counted on again to move food into the stricken area. What wasn’t anticipated in Florida was the need for specialty foods! For example, pigs born to be slaughtered can only eat special stuff and big cats eat 200 pounds of meat per day! If there was time for a grim smile it was when she explained a situation where she finally "delegated" someone to do something she didn't want to do - feed those big cats!
Diane cautions there will be other unexpected problems. The Florida group rescued over 18,000 animals during the Charlie, Gene, and Andrew disasters. A lot of people really gave the most important thing we have - our time! Diane mentioned one Beagle gal who drove every day to designated areas, worked to exhaustion, then drove back to her home town long enough to get a few hours sleep, then back to care for the animals, day after grueling day. No single hero here. Just people caring for people and for animals. Is there a more noble cause?
AGAIN – Organization is critical. "Our military will bring out the animals as they can. Right now, they are the only ones allowed in there. Obviously they will bring out people first, but our military and Guard people are great! Most of them love animals and they will get as many as they can."
Here’s what Diane’s group has learned from experience. Hopefully you are close enough to aid in a massive effort covering the entire Gulf Coast region from Louisiana up into Georgia. Whether you are or not - get organized in your own area!!! If you are a member of any dog club, offer your services. Agility people, field trial enthusiasts, you are all a tremendous asset. Your physical strength and endurance may be needed. Disasters are not show rings where the worst we worry about is running into the ring divider or tripping over a mat!
Crates are hard to come by and vitally needed when rescuers move in. How can the people move their pets? We advise you go to the airlines (yes now) as representative of _______ Disaster Rescue Organization and ask them to save the crates that people don’t take when they pick up their pets. Yes, people leave those crates. Get the name of Senior Freight Agents, ask them to give you even one crate now, and to save accumulated crates for your group to pick up once a week. Diane came up with another great idea, "Go to the hospitals and ask for discarded surgical packs, they don't use everything in them and there are valuable sterile collectibles." Collect and store water containers, crates and supplies in your group’s warehouse. Yes, warehouse. A moisture-free rental building to start with.
Get local businessmen to donate space and help. They will!! You’d be surprised. Especially now when this is on their minds. Next month, you will have lost the advantage of news coverage.
Contact a trucking firm and ask them to take what you’ve collected down to a central collection point at the disaster area. This time, next time, and if God forbid, your area is hit. And now is the time to remind each and every one of you that it may not be a natural disaster. Homeland Security begins with home folks. That’s YOU.
Someone must answer the phone. Set up a hotline in your area. It can be call forwarded around to different volunteers so no one has the whole burden.
Hurricane Katrina Animal Relief Resources
In the devastation caused by hurricanes, the forgotten victims are often the dogs. There are two funds which have been initiated specifically for the benefit of dogs affected by the storms. If you wish to help the canine victims of the Florida hurricanes, there are two associations that will use your donations to provide medical supplies, necessary care, and if necessary, re-homing.
AKC/CAR Canine Support & Relief Fund American Kennel Club, 260 Madison Avenue, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10016-2401. Contributions are used to immediately purchase needed equipment and supplies and deliver them directly to contact centers. Please note on the check that monies should go toward helping the victims of natural disasters.
The Florida Association of Kennel Clubs - President: Diane Albers, 401 Cardinal Oaks, Lake Mary, Florida 32746 This group in on-scene as we report. There will be massive help needed after the fact and every penny goes to the animals impacted by the Katrina Disaster.
and Dogs Held Hostage by HSUS Sept 2005 bravely covered by this caring AKC judge.
December 20, 2008, dozing with a dog in her lap, my dear friend Diane J. Albers passed away
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