Press release: November 21, 2005 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time
Noah’s Wish Departs Slidell, LA After Rescuing over 1,900 Animals Affected by Hurricane Katrina
(Slidell, LA) November 21, 2005 – After working around-the-clock for 11 weeks in an extraordinary effort to rescue and shelter animals left behind in the destruction of Hurricane Katrina, the Noah’s Wish team bade farewell to Slidell today. Through their efforts approximately 1,900 animals were successfully rescued and cared for, including cats, dogs, birds and exotics. Every animal rescued by Noah’s Wish volunteers was reunited with its owner, placed into foster care, or adopted into a loving new home.
In the immediate aftermath of Katrina, the non-profit organization that works exclusively to rescue and shelter animals in disasters arrived in Slidell, which had been completely destroyed by the hurricane. Prior to the storm, the Slidell Animal Control facility had been able to evacuate its animals but was unable to return to their flooded building. Noah’s Wish Founder and Director Terri Crisp worked with Slidell Animal Control to set up a temporary shelter in a large warehouse provided by the city. “Noah’s Wish did a fantastic job for the people of Slidell,” said Mayor Ben O. Morris. “There were no animals roaming loose on our streets and no reported dog bites. I am eternally grateful for this great organization and it’s most impressive leadership.”
“Pet owners in Slidell had the best chance of finding their pets, thanks to the time, manpower and resources invested by Noah’s Wish in our community during this disaster,” remarked Slidell Animal Control Assistant Director Damian Anti. Many residents whose homes were destroyed during the disaster needed to find temporary shelter for their animals. Noah’s Wish placed hundreds of pets in temporary foster care homes—all located no more than one hour away from their owners. “For a lot of folks around here, all they have left are their animals” observed Anti.
The organization took extensive efforts to track owners and let them know their animals had been saved. “It is our responsibility to make sure that each animal affected by this disaster was given every possible chance to be reunited with their owner” said Crisp.
When an animal was evacuated from a home in the days immediately following the disaster, a brightly colored flyer was left prominently on the front door along with directions to the temporary shelter where the animal could be found. A second posting would be made if an animal was still in the shelter after three weeks. Flyers were posted in public areas where animals had been found stray.
“We knew that after a certain point, residents who left Slidell had to get their mail forwarded, and most people came back to Slidell to meet with FEMA or their insurance companies,” said Crisp. With that in mind, Crisp and her team sent certified letters to each home where an animal had been rescued. In addition, flyers were posted at every public location where evacuees were congregating – Red Cross shelters, insurance offices, FEMA offices. Additionally, ads were taken out in several local newspapers to help spread the word among residents that their animals were being cared for in a temporary shelter.
Hundreds of trained volunteers from across the United States and Canada worked tirelessly for weeks to rescue and care for the animals of Slidell. “Without the help of the volunteers who spent countless hours away from their families, we could not have saved so many animals,” said Ante. “This community is forever indebted to those folks.”
Noah’s Wish did not leave Slidell until all animals that had been rescued from Slidell after the hurricane were reunited with their owners, placed in foster homes or adopted. A few animals remained in the care of Slidell Animal Control, waiting to be transported to their new homes by the end of the week.
As a lasting gesture of their support for the community of Slidell, Noah’s Wish has pledged $1 million to the rebuilding effort of the Slidell Animal Control building which suffered extensive structural damage during the hurricane.
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