Historic flooding in Louisiana has stranded and displaced thousands of people and, tragically, to date, has taken the lives of seven. The natural disaster has left a nation mourning and wondering what they can do to help—not only their fellow Americans but the countless pets and animals in need of assistance as well.
And while you may not be close enough to pull a dog out of a sinking car, there are ways to rally and get involved from afar.
The Louisiana SPCA has organized to help shelters in the flooded areas, including Companion Animal Alliance in Baton Rouge, the City of Denham Springs Animal Control, and the Tangipahoa Parish Animal Shelter. The rescue organization sent out a press release detailing the ways people can lend a helping hand in animal relief efforts.
For nearby residents or anyone who wishes to volunteer locally, the Louisiana SPCA has secured three drop-off points for the most needed supplies, which include metal buckets with clipping carabiners, wire pet crates in various sizes, leashes, unopened dry cat and dog food, and metal water bowls. They stress that needs can change daily and ask those who want to help to check the social media pages of the shelters listed above for updates (each shelter is linked to its respective Facebook page).
They also urge East Baton Rouge and Lafayette Parish residents who find lost or displaced animals to bring them to a local shelter. According to the above mentioned press release, "By moving an owned animal to another parish or out of state, the likelihood of reuniting that pet with its owner severely diminishes."
The Louisiana State Animal Response Team, which is on the ground helping animals in the region, notes on their website that out-of-state volunteers are welcome during this urgent time, but that volunteers should work with national humane organizations to identify the right opportunities for their skills and experience. The response team's website states that there are many volunteer roles that need to be filled during a disaster, ranging from administration work and data entry to more specialized veterinary medical care and shelter care.
For those of us who can't help on the ground, the Louisiana SPCA is asking pet lovers to make monetary donations directly to the community animal shelters to ensure the money gets to where it is needed.
This tragic act of nature serves as a reminder to all pet parents to be prepared for everything. Read up on disaster preparedness information from petMD and the ASPCA and put a plan in place to help your pet out of these dangerous sitations, should they occur.
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