IDA: New Doc "Dark Water Rising" Illuminates Katrina Rescue Efforts

August 3rd, 2006 11:41 pm by Kelly Garbato

I realize that this was listed in the Table of Contents of the IDA eNewsletter I posted earlier tonight, but I specifically uploaded this one section to the Katrina Alerts page on my personal blog, so…with all the coding done, I figured that it’d be a shame not to single it out here as well.

I also read tonight that Spike Lee’s Katrina documentary, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, will be airing on HBO at the end of the month (right in time for Katrina’s one-year anniversary). The New York Times has an excellent write up of it here.

Finally, Best Friends recently published a book about animal rescue in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Not Left Behind: Rescuing the Pets of New Orleans is available on, as well as directly from the Best Friends store. If you do purchase a copy, I’d recommend that you go straight to the source – it may cost more through Best Friends, but I’d hazard a guess that they also get to pocket more of the proceeds thataway.

Or, just skip the capitalism and make a donation directly to Best Friends. A year may have passed, but they’re still involved with the ongoing rescue efforts in NO. (For more ways to help, check out their Hurricane Relief Community.)

—– Original Message —–
From: In Defense of Animals – takeaction [at]
Date: Aug 2, 2006 10:21 PM
Subject: IDA eNews: 08-02-06

New Doc “Dark Water Rising” Illuminates Katrina Rescue Efforts

IDA sponsors film nationally as part of Guardian Campaign

As the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches on August 29th, award-winning filmmaker Mike Shiley (Inside Iraq: The Untold Stories) is screening his new documentary Dark Water Rising: The Truth About Hurricane Katrina Animal Rescues in dozens of cities across the country. IDA is sponsoring the 75-minute movie nationally, beginning with coast-to-coast test screenings in twelve U.S. cities as part of our Guardian Campaign. The film portrays many aspects of what being a guardian means, both for individuals and society at large, emphasizing just how important and irreplaceable each animal’s life is. From the individuals who left animals tied to trees in their backyards like mere disposable property, to the government officials who refused evacuees the right to bring their animal companions when evacuating, to the heroes who risked their lives saving the thousands of dogs and cats stranded in the disaster-stricken city, at the film’s heart is the message that animals need to be respected as the sentient creatures they are. By adopting guardian language and treating animals as companions, not property, our society will begin to make progress in its treatment of animals. Local showings will be fundraisers for area animal shelters.

Dark Water Rising is the story of the tens of thousands of animals who were left behind in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, the worst natural disaster in U.S. history, and the courageous people who set out to rescue survivors against all odds. Many guardians were forced to leave their animal companions behind to die because Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) rescuers would not allow animals in transport vehicles or emergency shelters. Floodwaters trapped at least 40,000 animals in their houses for months, where many died from starvation. Humane volunteers from around the country came to rescue animals in Katrina’s wake, braving toxic floodwaters and breaking down doors to save animals’ lives. IDA-Project Hope was on the front lines of this historic effort, and coordinated with many groups to rescue, shelter, feed and transport animals.

The film documents the heroic rescuers’ efforts, showing both the tragic and heartwarming sides of animal rescue. For every animal that was reunited with a guardian or adopted into a new family, many more starved or died from illness. Shiley exposes the fatal shortcomings of the federal response to Katrina in hopes of raising public awareness about the need for comprehensive animal evacuation plans in preparation for large-scale disasters. This is especially relevant now that the House of Representatives passed the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act and the Senate is about to vote on it. If the PETS Act passes, local and state authorities will be required to provide for the needs of animal companions and their guardians during disasters to be eligible for FEMA grants.

Dark Water Rising

What You Can Do:

Watch the trailer for Dark Water Rising: The Truth About Hurricane Katrina Rescues.

See the film when it screens in your area. IDA will be tabling at some of the showings. If you would like to organize a table during a screening in your area, call (415) 388-9641 to get outreach materials. Also print or order IDA’s Guardian Campaign brochures.

– IDA and Mike Shiley are looking for animal protection organizations and individuals who would like to screen the film in their communities. If you would like to screen the film in your area to benefit your local humane society, please contact Mike Shiley at shidog1 [at]

– Order a DVD of Dark Water Rising. Please type “IDA member” in the message area of the order form, as $5.00 will be donated to IDA for each DVD purchased by our supporters.

– Urge your Senators to pass the PETS Act to protect animal companions in the next disaster. Please also contact your elected officials by phone. Get your elected officials’ contact information.

– Learn more about IDA’s Guardian Campaign and how you can be the impetus for change in your city.

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