Kinship Circle: Animal Evacuations In A Post-Katrina World

September 10th, 2008 9:20 pm by Kelly Garbato

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at]
Date: Wed, Sep 10, 2008 at 2:42 PM
Subject: Animal Evacuations In A Post-Katrina World


Dear Kinship Circle Primary,

Please except our apologies for the lack of alerts in recent weeks. We were in New Orleans from 8/27 to 9/1, assisting with animal evacuations after Hurricane Gustav. We’ve continued to manage volunteers, working with MuttShack Animal Rescue on post-Gustav issues — and are on standby to help animals in Hurricane Ike, if necessary. Gratefully, hurricane season won’t last much longer…so we can resume animal advocacy alerts! Kinship Circle

9/10/08: Hurricane Gustav – Photo Log

It was surreal. We shifted from awards mode to action mode as Hurricane Gustav loomed behind the Katrina Animal Memorial 8/29/08 in New Orleans. When Humane Society of Louisiana’s magical day ended, Kinship Circle set-up a volunteer intake table to assist MuttShack Animal Rescue for the evacuation of pets with their people. The Louisiana State Animal Response Team (LSART) implemented a system for animal evacuations — that did not exist during Katrina. Photos courtesy of Kinship Circle.

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Kinship Circle receives a Pioneer Spirit Award for its work in the Gulf Coast.
Jeff Dorson, executive director, Humane Society of Louisiana and host of the Katrina Animal Memorial 2008.


Louisiana Animal Evacuations In A Post-Katrina World



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August 28-31, 2008: Kinship Circle volunteers joined other LSART partner organizations/individuals to work at pre-designated sites where people could evacuate with their animals from 12 coastal parishes.


MuttShack Animal Rescue — on the ground pre-Gustav to help in many capacities — enlisted Kinship Circle to coordinate volunteers. MuttShack provided animal transport trucks and helped Parish Pickup Points (PPPs) before/during evacuations. Kinship Circle commends MuttShack for its professionalism and dedication to animals during disasters.

Volunteers associated with Kinship Circle (pre/post-Gustav) include: Cheri Deatsch, Kim Lea, Adrienne DeArmas, Kim Johnson, Robyn Urman, Teri Meier, Sandy Lynn, Kylie Shafferkoetter, Ghen Dennis, Sarah Rose, Lisa Roussel, Tracie Dawson, June Towler, Joanne Greene, Debby Osburn, Jim York, Kristy McShan, Sandi Corrado, Jeanne Develle… This list is by no means inclusive. We are grateful to ALL who committed their time and energy to the most innocent disaster victims — the animals.


LSART is an organization that includes governmental agencies, veterinarians, animal control officers, humane organizations, and citizen volunteers with an interest in animal well-being related to emergencies or disasters.


We’re a network of independent volunteers who communicate during disasters to mobilize volunteers, supplies, and other resources for animal victims. Kinship Circle may work directly at disaster sites or in conjunction with other groups. We also provide news and updates during disasters.


Union Station, Loyola Street, New Orleans


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This Shitzu pup reminded me so much of my Lhasa Apso Mandy, I became fast friends with her mom. Evacuees appreciated comforting words and smiles.
Brenda Shoss, Kinship Circle

At PPPs, we tagged animals with numbered bands that matched wristbands worn by their people — in case they became separated, as happened to stranded animals after Katrina. After detailed paperwork, evacuees boarded buses with small animals on their laps. Large animals traveled in airline carriers on climate-controlled trucks. Animals and people went to a “Mega Shelter” in Shreveport, Louisiana, where they stayed side by side.

Animals under 15 pounds (exotics, cats, small dogs) could ride with their people on buses. We let as many of the little guys as possible evacuate on familiar laps. (I’m fairly certain some weighed over 15 pounds).

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This burly New Orleans police officer (right) brought in his Shitzu and bunny rabbit, Teddy! We also registered an iguana, several birds, and some residents with eight or more cats (who mostly traveled on laps and burrowed inside carriers…so no cat photos).

First responders, such as the police officer above, evacuated their companion animals while they remained on the ground for Gustav. During intake, some evacuees recalled fur kids lost to Katrina, when officials refused to let them board buses or helicopters with their animals.

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This resident was so sad to separate from his dogs, especially Ms. Prissy, he cried in our arms as we assured him they’d reunite at the shelter.


An Empty City On The Eve Of A Hurricane


5:00pm on Sunday, 8/31/08 — With Gustav imminent, we registered stragglers. Rosemarie Jarreau’s family arrived late with 10 dogs to band and register. All buses had left and a final Amtrac train waited for them at Union Station.

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Rosemarie Jarreau and her son Devontay Jenkins hug their puppies at an emergency pet evacuation center before boarding the last Amtrac train to depart New Orleans, Louisiana, enroute to Memphis, Tennessee, August 31, 2008, after a mandatory evacuation was ordered ahead of Hurricane Gustav.

HOUR-54: Parish pickup points open. Volunteers report for duty.

HOUR-30: Contra-flow begins. Police control flow of traffic out of city only.
Only credentialed responders can enter.

HOUR-12: All volunteers evacuate. Can load animals until H-12

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Kinship Circle’s Cheri Deatsch and Kim Lea joined Brenda and her husband Grady to help city-assisted evacuees with animals — working alongside LSU students, EARS, ARNO, LSPCA, Humane Society of Missouri. HSUS dropped by after we’d wrapped operations, to photograph some animals…


No Animals Left Behind?


Gustav made landfall as a Grade 3 hurricane on Monday, 9/1/08. WERE ANIMALS LEFT BEHIND? There are always gaps in a first-time system. While we didn’t see the hundreds of thousands of animals who suffered after Katrina, phone calls flowed in about animals confined in homes, tethered in backyards, or seen roaming. A week after evacuations in harder-hit southeastern Louisiana animals were seen hungry, wandering…some dead. What went wrong?

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Mainly, it seems, there was a communication discrepancy between Parish Emergency Planners and citizens within their communities.

At Parish Pickup Points, only volunteers registering animals asked: “Did you leave any animals behind?” It was suggested that volunteers ask people-only evacuees the same question.

Finally, the complexity of instructions regarding animal evacuations may have overwhelmed some. Animal caretakers were told to bring carriers and vaccinated animals (with veterinary papers). In fact, animals were placed in donated cardboard carriers or mesh “pet purses” to sit atop laps on buses. Larger animals traveled inside airline carriers. If some issues had been better clarified, more evacuees might have arrived with their animals.

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Kinship Circle Animal Disaster Aid Network was enlisted to coordinate volunteers for Gustav/Ike evacuations and aftermath. DONATIONS are greatly appreciated to help cover our nationwide communications.

DONATE BY MAIL: Kinship Circle * 7380 Kingsbury Blvd. * St. Louis, MO 63130

Kinship Circle is a 501c3 nonprofit animal advocacy organization.
All donations are tax-deductible.

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Action Campaigns I Literature I Animal Disaster Aid Networking
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One Response to “Kinship Circle: Animal Evacuations In A Post-Katrina World”

  1. “Animal Evacuations In A Post-Katrina World” » V for Vegan: Says:

    […] for both human and non-human animals alike became readily apparent. While the evacuation plans didn’t go off without a hitch in the face of Gustav and Ike, there were plans – not to mention plenty of […]

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