L.A. TEAM EVACUATES PETS.
Man's four-legged friends have not been forgotten in the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, with animal-welfare groups from across the nation piling into the ravaged Gulf Coast to save pets and reunite them with their owners.
A Disaster Animal Response Team from the Los Angeles branch of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals left on Wednesday for Baton Rouge to assist with relief efforts.
``If you're doing it right, a pet is part of the family and you're relating to the pet,'' said Madeline Bernstein, spcaLA president. ``That's why pets risk their lives for people,'' and why many people are refusing to evacuate without their beloved dog or cat.
Images of dogs stranded on porches and roofs have led to a surge in calls from people asking how they can help support pet rescues over the past few days, animal-rights groups say.
American Red Cross shelters do not allow pets, for sanitation, allergy and safety reasons, so hurricane victims were asked to leave their pets behind when they were evacuated, said Melissa Seide Rubin, vice president of field and disaster services for the Humane Society of the United States.
But more than 200 people from the Humane Society have rescued about 1,000 animals from areas hit hard by Katrina, Seide Rubin said. The animals are getting veterinary treatment, and then being placed in animal shelters until their owners are found.
The group is working to create a photo database on its Web site at www.hsus.org.
``We've found time and time again, when someone's lost everything and you can reunite them with their animals, it makes all the difference to bring the family back together,'' Seide Rubin said. ``We're in there for the long haul.''
The Los Angeles DART, which contains a full communications system capable of monitoring and dispatching emergency services, will assist Louisiana officials in evacuating animals.
DART also can provide temporary shelter for animals with front-line veterinary care and can help local, state and national agencies to assist families and their pets with medical, food and housing assistance.
The California Veterinary Medical Association also is fielding calls from veterinarians and others who want to help and is referring people to its Web site at www.cvma.net, which has a list of places needing donations.
For more information, or to donate, people can call the spcaLA at (888) SPCA-LA1, visit the Web site at www.spcaLA.com, visit the Humane Society's Web site at www.hsus.org or call (800) HUMANE1.
Lisa M. Sodders, (818) 713-3663
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Sep 8, 2005|
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