Terri Crisp founded and served as Executive Director of Noah's Wish, and earlier this year she founded Animal Resources: Providing Disaster Management Solutions. She has rescued more animals from more disasters than any other person, and has provided excellent training to thousands of volunteers all over the U.S. and Canada. She wrote two books about her experiences, Out of Harm's Way in 1997 and Emergency Animal Rescue Stories: One Woman's Dedication to Saving Animals from Disasters in 2002.
Animal Resources, based in Northern California, is ready to respond to the wildfires if and as soon as they are called upon. Fire updates regarding the animals are posted on their website.
Since 1983, Terri has rescued animals from more than 60 disasters including earthquakes, fires, floods, hurricanes, oil spills, tornadoes, and tropical storms.
In 2005 alone, she and Noah's Wish volunteers and coordinators responded to both the Tsunami in Sri Lanka, and then to Hurricane Katrina, where she spent over 2 1/2 months in Slidell, LA.
In spite of later criticism from a few outsiders and disgruntled ( but highly vocal) volunteers (including a veterinarian) who refused to follow established guidelines (and were asked to leave Slidell) during the emotionally-charged weeks and months following Katrina, Noah's Wish had a recovery rate of over 75% and was later commended by the Office of the State Vet of Louisiana for their work in Louisiana.
None of the rescued animals were "lost" from the shelter managed by Terri Crisp in Slidell because Katrina was not a dress rehersal for her and her coordinators.
By contrast, animals were "lost" and stolen from the other emergency shelters set up following Katrina - those operated by the Humane Society of the United States, Muttshack, Pasados, Best Friends, and the independently run Camp Lucky and Winn-Dixie shelters. Some of this was due to lack of established policy and procedures; some due to the lack of experience on the part of those running the shelters; some due to the large-scale chaos and confusion; a lot due to rescuers and volunteers making judgements about the owners of the animals not being worthy of getting them back. Pit bulls were stolen and scammed out of several shelters until fences and guards were put in place.
And a lot was due to volunteers seeing Katrina as an opportunity to go pet shopping.
That recovery rate of over 75% is more than three times the reunion rate claimed by any of the other organizations that rescued animals and established temporary shelters in the Gulf Coast following Katrina.
The recovery rate from a disaster includes not only actual reunions, but the percentage of owners with whom contact was established. Following a disaster of the enormity of Katrina, many people who lost their homes had no choice but to surrender their pets either immediately or later.
Terri Crisp made sure that multiple efforts were made to contact the owners of every animal removed from every residence or street corner. She even established contact with the owners of all 50 cats she agreed to take from the Lamar Dixon shelter, operated by HSUS and reunited most of them.
A few shelters receiving pets from the Gulf Coast also had high recovery rates due to their ongoing commitment and dedication to reuniting pets with their owners. These include The Humane Society of Monterrey Bay in Northern California; Animal Ark of Minnesota, Spindletop Pit Bull Refuge in Texas.