UPDATE from Noah's Wish (i.e. The Truth)

  • Director's Update: November 20, 2005 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time

There have been rumors circulating on the internet recently that pertain to Noah's Wish which I would like to correct. I apologize for not doing this sooner but we have been extremely busy trying to shut down our operation in Slidell. Also, I would have hoped that people would trust us enough to do our job the right way and not get pulled into the rumor frenzy. In all honesty, taking time to put these rumors to an end definitely distracts from what needs to be done right now for the few remaining animals in our care.

Noah's Wish will be completely closing down our shelter on November 21 which we have had open in Slidell, Louisiana for 84 days. Originally, we thought we would be done by the 15th of November, but we postponed our departure when we realized there was still more work to be done. When we leave, everyone of the 1,986 animals we have cared for will either be reunited with their families, placed in a foster home, adopted, or they will be waiting for an individual or small rescue group to pick them up. We are not turning animals over to Slidell Animal Control for them to be euthanized which is the rumor being circulated on the internet. The rumor that we are doing this is absolutely incorrect. There will be a small number of animals that do stay at the animal control shelter for a few days after we leave as they cannot be picked up before we depart. We will follow through with animal control to make sure this happens. If any of the plans fall through we will come up with another solution.

I must say it is an insult to the organization for people to think we would give up on these animals at this point. It makes me sad at how quickly people jumped to misjudge us when our history in past disasters proves we have always been committed to the animals that we take responsibility for during disasters, no matter how long it takes to get them all where they belong and where they will be well cared for. For those who have sent e-mails saying they will no longer support Noah's Wish, I can only say that we want people to support our work who truly trust us and believe in our commitment to the animals. And, there are hundreds of thousands of people who do and the numbers are continuing to grow rapidly.

All of us on site in Slidell have put in incredibly long hours for the past 2 and a half months taking care of all the needs of the animals that have come through our shelter. We have nursed animals back to health, bathed them when they were covered in oil, held them in our arms when they were scared, gave them blankets to curl up with at night when the weather got colder, and played with them to help them feel they mattered to us. The love and attention that has been shown for these animals is a testament to the compassion everyone on the Noah's Wish team, including Slidell Animal Control, feels towards these animals and also their caregivers. Noah's Wish has invested a great deal in the animals we have been responsible for during this disaster and we will continue to do this, not only during this disaster, but in future ones too.

I want to also come to the defense of Slidell Animal Control. For people to automatically think that turning animals over to this agency means they will die is wrong and unfair. Out of all the agencies and organizations that Noah's Wish has worked with during past disasters they have been by far the best. The level of commitment to the animals, and the obvious concern and compassion that the staff has shown throughout this entire ordeal, is to be commended. They too have invested a great deal in these animals, working right along side of us the entire time. There is no way they could give up on these animals either.

Noah's Wish will be posting a full report on our website once our work in Slidell is complete.


KittyCatCorral said...

Can you explain the absence of Noah's Wish postings on Petfinder? Do you not think it's cruel to withhold information about what animals NW have taken in, from owners desperate to locate their animals? What gives you the right?

suzysmom said...

I agree with the above post in that you neglected to address the fact that you did NOT POST the pets in your care on Petfinder. From reading other blogs I gather that part of this failure was due to faulty reasoning by assuming ALL the lost pet owners from the Slidell area could easily ~come into your shelter~ WHICH is definitely NOT the case! Many (perhaps the majority) were displaced far and wide and have no means to return or to resume their lives in the area (even if their home might still be livable), especially if they have no jobs to return to and have been able to find jobs in their new location.

The percentage of pet reunions/relinquishes should tell you that this is true, otherwise it would be assumed that you would have almost 100%, at least 80%, minimum 70% found pets. 7-8 out of 10 owners should have been able to find their lost pets... (Per your assumption 9-10!!) If your reunion/relinquish rate is less, then obviously your decision to NOT list the animals on Petfinder and your efforts to find their missing families has failed.

I have also heard that when owners did come to your site, they had to give a 20 minute interview and then return the next day?! Some even had pictures or other documentation and STILL weren't allowed to look for their pets?! I further understand that the reasoning for this was ~the concern for the welfare of the animals~ so that NONowners couldn't "shop" for a animal. Yes, this is commendable, BUT again there is much room for improvement in this policy. Not everyone who was able to return to look for their lost pets had the time and luxury of spending several days driving around and searching through all the different rescued pets locations.

Which leads me to inquire if you can absolutely guarantee that not one single animal in your care was from NO or one of the other Parishes?! I would also like a clarification of your policy to "adopt out" Katrina pets within the "foster" time period i.e. the little beagle named Noah (as in Noah's Wish)? Were these animals owner relinquished or considered to be strays before Katrina hit; and if so what is your definition of "stray" (running loose with no collar)?!

Lastly it bothers me that you resent having to take the time to address rumors and complaints! As a Not for Profit Organization you should be well aware that you ARE accountable to your donors. AND should welcome the opportunity to clear up any mistruths and answer all questions as well as to generate good PR to attract future donors. You are a service organization which runs on the generosity and trust of the general public. It would clearly pay not to alienate any animal lover. We all want what is best for the animals; AND in this case the happy reunion with their owners should always be #1 priority.

Anita said...

Note to kittycatcorral and suzysmom: this blog is not affiliated in any way with Noah's Wish or any other organization. Your posts and comments are welcome, as I believe there is room for many opinions and viewpoints on this or other topics. But if you want Noah's Wish to hear your comments, please write to them at:info@noahswish.org

Today was their final day in Slidell and I just posted their last report on my blog. I hope you'll read it.


gemee said...

Blah, blah, blah.
N.W really needs to re-think the way that they attempt to "re-unite owners with their lost pets". No pictures on petfinder, no public phone, ...tells me that they are trying to make it as hard as possible to get the pets back in the owner's hands.
What on earth were displaced out-of-state owners supposed to do, to identify their animal at this facility?
Anita, you need to do some impartial "homework", before you come to the defense of Noah's Wish. They were really off-base with their efforts in Slidell.

OF they would of just posted PICTURES on Petfinder, it would of gone a long way.

Anita said...

In spite of these anonymous comments left here (anonymous in that those posting did not leave their names or email addresses) I have still not heard one complaint from a Slidell pet owner.

Here's what I am offering to those of you who continue to find fault with Noah's Wish: find ONE person from Slidell who had any problems with them; ONE person from Slidell whose pet was lost in the system or refused to be returned to them and ask them to write to me and explain their problem or situation. I will ask Noah's Wish to comment and if their problem can be substantiated I publish all of it here.

As one of the volunteers who has been involved in this for four months now, I have seen more hysteria, false reports, false alarms, urban myths, etc than I have even seen before. There have been very real & serious problems - rescuers & volunteers taking pets home with them with no intentions of looking for the owners; shelters who disregarded all the recommended guidelines for reunification; the disposal of "unwanted" dogs at EBNAH; the shooting of dogs in SBP; the theft of animals by PETA and others; mis-management and poor coordination and communication throughout all of this, etc, etc. No person or group who has tried to help has been perfect. But please try harder to separate truth from false reports; there is a difference between those who acted maliciously from those who were overwhelmed and un-prepared for the enormity of Katrina and did the best they could even if that was far from what we would have wanted.