Tag Archives: Hurricane Katrina

10 years ago…

This week marks the 10th anniversary of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

The Hurricane Katrina Memorial at Angel's Rest, Kanab, Utah

The Hurricane Katrina Memorial at Angel’s Rest, Kanab, Utah

 

Lest we forget….

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Animals in Emergencies – book review

AnimalsinEmergenciesCover

I have just finished reading Animals in Emergencies:  Learning from the Christchurch earthquakes by Annie Potts and Donelle Gadenne.  This was a must-read book for me.  Why?  I’m in it!

Published in late 2014, this book is largely a compilation of stories about people and animals caught up in the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.  However, since it is also a text produced by university academics, it aims to serve a purpose as “an introduction to the specialised area of animal welfare management during emergencies.”

I found the first 90% of the book the most enjoyable.  Filled with stories of rescue, sheltering and individual owner’s tales of the earthquakes, the book serves to document – largely in the first person – the historical accounts of the days, weeks and months following the quakes.  And I like the fact that the book doesn’t just focus on companion animal dogs and cats, but also includes stories about horses, fish, hedgehogs and other species.

But the last 10% of the book is rather disappointing (and it hurts me to have to say this).  Since New Zealand is a production-based economy, this book had to focus on the fate of production animals.  But this is also where the book loses its tone and momentum.  Either the authors asked for interviews with farmers and researchers and were rejected, or they simply didn’t ask – we’ll never know.

Perhaps because of the lack of firsthand accounts, the book becomes too formal in its approach to describing the impact on farm animals and animals used in research.  The text uses citations from newspaper articles at this point and becomes ‘preachy’ in terms of animal welfare.  As someone with a personal interest in animal welfare management, the issues raised in the book are not new but the distinct ‘lessons learned from Christchurch’ is very much lost on the reader.

I’m pleased this book has been produced and I’m very honored to have my story told although I know that I’m a very small contributor to the overall efforts to assist animals following the quakes.

Animals in Emergencies has been distributed to booksellers worldwide and a paperback version is available on Amazon.com.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Mine: The Movie

Mine the movie

Followers will have to forgive me for taking so long to see this film.

In my defense, I have tried to view it since the film came out in 2010.  I made contact with the filmmakers at the time and there we no screenings in New Zealand that had been planned. Our local independent cinema chain never responded to my enquiries (by phone and email) to show the film and then we had our big earthquakes of 2011 which not only destroyed our arthouse cinemas, but also took my attention away for a considerable time.

I have finally managed to watch the DVD while visiting relatives who rented it on Netflix. I’m so glad we did.  It was everything I hoped it would be.

This award-winning documentary follows the story of pet owners who were separated from their animals during the haphazard and uncoordinated evacuation of New Orleans in 2005 before Hurricane Katrina hit with full force.  The animal rescue efforts were undertaken by many volunteers, but without infrastructure for central coordination.

This film tells the stories of Bandit, JJ, Precious, Max and other dogs and their owners and their fight to be re-united.

Be prepared with tissues – some of the footage and stories are heart-breaking; others joyous.

Hurricane Katrina taught us a lot about animal disaster planning and I hope we never face a catastrophe on this scale again.  My friends at Best Friends Animal Society continue to care for some Katrina survivors today.  Their numbers are, of course, dwindling with time.

If you have a Hurricane Katrina story to share, please reply to this blog post.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

A Hurricane Sandy survival story

There’s still a lot of work to be done in the communities hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy this week.  Thankfully, it seems that the lessons from Hurricane Katrina have helped and there will be fewer animal casualties because people evacuated with their pets (and shelters accepted them).

I thought I would share this story of Max, a mixed-breed believed to be Shepherd, Pointer and Pit Bull.

Jessie Streich-Kest pictured with Max in happier times. Photo courtesy of NYCCommunities

Max was found under a fallen tree on Tuesday alongside the bodies of his owner and her friend.  They were out walking together when the tree fell on them.  Max is now recovering from head injuries, a broken jaw and cuts.

Max’s owner, Jessie Streich-Kest, saved Max from an ASPCA shelter.  Now, when he recovers, he’ll go to live with her family.

Many charities like the Petfinder Foundation are using donations to help animals in need.  As temperatures drop in the region and power has yet to be restored, even shelters are finding it tough to keep their animals warm and comfortable.

It’s time to reach out and help where you can.

Remembering Katrina – 7 years later

Last week, on the 28th of August, we marked the 7th anniversary since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and other Gulf communities.

In marking this sad anniversary, I share with you the Hurricane Katrina memorial at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.  The Best Friends staff and volunteers saved over 6,000 animals in the aftermath of Katrina and the relief efforts will be remembered by all of those involved for many years.

The Hurricane Katrina memorial at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah.

In addition, here is the video compiled by Best Friends to mark the 5th anniversary of the Katrina relief efforts:

No pets left behind – pet disaster planning in San Francisco

The City of San Francisco is providing leadership in the area of disaster planning for pets.  Following the disaster of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when  pet owners were refused shelter if they brought their pets with them, the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act of 2006 made federal funding available for authorities to plan to help companion animals that are affected by disasters.

In San Francisco,  pet-disaster responders will have authorised training and they will use a network of 125 temporary shelters to evacuate animals.  Injured animals will be treated in a $300,000 mobile animal disaster medical command unit (funding for this is still pending).

Best of all, the city’s department of Animal Care and Control has a No Pets Left Behind policy.  Whenever a citizen is rescued, their pets will be rescued too.

For those of us who have lived through a major disaster like Christchurch’s 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, we know the importance of having supplies and an evacuation plan for your pets.  It’s also a challenge to get authorities coordinated to respond to animal welfare problems during major events.

Read more about San Francisco’s disaster planning in this New York Times article.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand