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  Katrina dogs, who is really helping them? Part 1 (Guest)
Posted: 2:21:38 pm on 9/27/2005 Modified: Never
 
<font face="Verdana" size="2" color="Black"><STRONG><FONT color=#0000ff>I was a volunteer rescuer, at the Hattiesburg, Mississippi Katrina rescue site, between 9/13/05 and 9/17/05.  I was accompanied by a veterinarian.<BR><BR>This rescue site was run by HSUS. There was an HSUS banner hanging across the main barn, where all the supplies were kept. HSUS crew wore blue shirts, labeled HSUS. Volunteers wore yellow shirts. I state this to clarify which organization's workers made the decisions that I believe caused suffering and death to the animals at the site. Whether the decisions were made by individual workers at this site, or were policies set at the national level, I do not know, but the national office of HSUS must address these matters immediately.<BR><BR>I returned home, in tears, not just because of the suffering and death caused to the animals by the hurricane and by the people who abandoned them, but also because of the policies of HSUS, which ran the rescue site at which I volunteered.<BR><BR>There were dozens of wonderful and caring folks, who had traveled from all<BR>over the country, ready and willing to work hard and cry hard.  More </FONT></STRONG><STRONG><FONT color=#0000ff>importantly, they came with the ability to take animals back home with them, having previously arranged for these dogs and cats to go directly into either foster homes, permanent homes, or to veterinarians' offices for treatment.<BR><BR>Arriving after 17 hours of travel (from Virginia), one of the first things I was told was that there had been vets, techs, and rescuers there, previously, who had "walked" off with dogs and cats when they were scheduled to leave. I soon found out why.<BR><BR>I was assigned to work in one of the rows, in one of the barns, in which some of the dogs were being housed.  I was assigned to care for 100 dogs with one other volunteer, Terry. One of us walked the dogs, while the other cleaned the cages and put fresh food and water in the cages.<BR><BR>I thought this system was simple, made sense, and we were anxious to begin.<BR>We were, however, required to attend a 1 1/2 hour meeting, in the morning,<BR>to discuss such questions (depending on who the barn manager for the<BR>day was) as whether to walk or feed the dogs first.<BR><BR>Terry and I left the meeting and started taking care of the dogs assigned to us. Many of the dogs were laying in their feces and urine.<BR><BR>As Terry has problems walking, we decided that she would clean the cages and I would walk the dogs.<BR><BR>When I came back from the walks, we used a hose to try to clean and cool off the dogs. Unfortunately, we had to return them to their cages.  We were a good team and worked efficiently until we got chastised by HSUS staff for walking the dogs in the morning. HSUS insisted that the dogs be fed first, even if they were standing in urine that was burning their open sores.<BR><BR>I was also told by HSUS that they did not care if the dogs were walked only once per day. Most of these dogs were large dogs, confined in very small crates.  With only one walk per day, the dogs were forced to lay in urine and feces for up to 24 hours. The cages were too small to permit them to move away from their waste. One skinny dog had urine burns on his legs.<BR><BR>Most of the dogs ate very little, due to the extreme heat. The HSUS feeding policy, therefore, did not maximize eating and weight gain for these emaciated animals.<BR><BR>When I inquired why HSUS wanted the feeding done this way, I found out it was nothing more then "an old shelter trick" that makes it easier to keep the cages cleaner, but makes it more uncomfortable for the animals.<BR><BR>I refused to do this and kept doing things as I had been. I was yelled at and yelled at, but I just ignored them.  Other volunteers from other barns left to go home because of the additional stress of being yelled at.<BR><BR>Everyday I saw more and more people crying, both from great sadness for these babies, but also greatly due to the fact that HSUS was preventing groups from removing animals.<BR><BR>One woman whom I met, came with a group from Orlando Florida, with 4 large horse trailers and the ability to take 100 animals with them.  They filled out all the required paperwork, as many, many groups did.  The person who was supposed to be processing this paperwork was never around. We were told that HSUS was going through these applications between 12am and 4am, but I saw no applications getting approved.<BR><BR>Each day the pile of applications was larger. No one received approval to take animals, so rescuers went home without the animals whose lives they had committed to saving.<BR><BR>Just the small group of folks I had met had the ability to remove 250 dogs and cats.<BR><BR>People were literally on their hands and knees begging HSUS to PLEASE, PLEASE let them remove some of the animals, especially the ones who were old, weak, and sick.  Rescuers were crying, crying, crying, while hugging and kissing these precious babies.<BR><BR>A  Saint Bernard mix was labeled "VICIOUS, WILL BITE," though he never seemed to move much or come out of the cage. My rescue partner, Terry, opened his cage and we both sat down with him. He seemed very confused, at which point, we realized that he was BLIND and could not walk well.  He was not vicious and not a biter - he was extremely frightened.</FONT></STRONG> <STRONG><FONT color=#0000ff> <DIV><BR>Terry and I worked on gaining his trust and he came out of his cage. He could not walk well, and neither could Terry; they were a match made in heaven.  This handsome boy was the only dog Terry could walk and they looked like they had been together, forever.  He was her dog and she wanted to take him home.<BR><BR>The vet with whom I had traveled from home deemed his paperwork a medical priority, due to his age, blindness, and lameness and she said that he must be released to a home.  Terry was so excited to take her new boy home.<BR><BR>* HSUS denied Terry's adoption application.<BR><BR>I found Terry collapsed on the ground, holding onto this dog.  Her arms were around him and he was wet from her tears.  I dropped on the ground with her and we cried together, holding this precious boy.  Terry had to leave the next morning without him.<BR><BR>A rescuer in his mid-twenties, Brandon, was working in the same barn (but one row over) as I was. He showed me a cage holding 2 little girl beagle babies who came in together.   The little girls were sleeping with their legs all entwined; it was adorable.  Brandon said that he was going to request these little girls and he thought his chances were good.  His father was a veterinarian and they lived on 12 acres.<BR><BR>* HSUS denied Brandon's adoption application.<BR><BR>I next saw him with the 2 little angels in his lap and he was crying.  I sat with him and we cried together.<BR><BR>I met a group of volunteers from Richmond VA. One of the group, Randy, had been given $25,000 to donate to HSUS, by an elderly neighbor who had recently lost his little Bichon.  The elderly man had only asked Randy that if there was a small white dog available, that he bring this dog home to him.<BR><BR>I told Randy that there was a little white dog in stall #1 - possibly a Maltese. The little dog was happy and had a great disposition She needed only a good bath and grooming (and, of course, a home). She seemed perfect.  The little dog had hope in her eyes and wanted to go home with Randy.<BR><BR><FONT color=#ff0000>* HSUS kept the money and the dog.</FONT></DIV></FONT></STRONG></font>
 
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  Re: Katrina dogs, who is really helping them? Part 1 (Guest)
Posted: 11:28:52 pm on 9/28/2005 Modified: Never
 
<font face="Verdana" size="2" color="Black"><P>I stopped making donations to the Humane Society of the United States when I learned that they do absolutely no rescue. They are an "educational program only" meaning they have no animals in their custody, they do not do rescue or take direct care of any animals and are not affiliated with any of the local humane societies. I used to think if I made one large donation to the US Humane Society, it would go into one big pot to help all the smaller humane societies. If you believe in rescue, your money should go directly to an animal in need in your local community. The US Humane Society does attempt to impact legislation and other issues but they do not do rescue. This is probably why their feeble attempt at Katrina dogs was such a disaster. This posting is just one of many I have heard the same concerns. Unfortunately, the animals are the victims here. </P></font>
 
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