Terri Crisp & former Noah's Wish volunteers ready to assist animal rescue from California fires

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.


Anonymous said...

Hmm, if i were in CA I'd be chaining myself to my pet right about now.

No Animal Left Behind said...

Anonymous - do you care to elaborate on another one of your misguided and pointless comments?

sb said...

Hi Anita, I am with anonymous on this one. Would be more convinced of the amazing success rate claimed by Terri if there were some records published somewhere that would back this up, or photos with "reunited!" the way we see at PF for many of the other thousands that were reunited. In the absence of that, it's all just talk, on both sides, and it's difficult to know who to believe.
After all, Muttshack is being allowed back into the state to do rescue, and they didn't publish most of their rescues either. The state's endorsement doesn't count for much, unfortunately.
Still love your blog but on this we will likely always disagree!

Anonymous said...
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JRH said...
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Cassie Michel said...

My name is Cassie Michel. I saw a show on the Military channel about Iraqi puppy rescue and since my boyfriend's in the army and I am a dog lover, it caught my attention. My boyfriend plans on doing active duty in a couple months and I plan to live on base with him. Once I'm there, I would like to be part of a rescue team. I'm not sure how to do this, though, and would like to talk to Terri if I could have her email. Thank you very much.

No Animal Left Behind said...

Hi Cassie, if you send me your email address, I'll be happy to pass it on to Terri. You can email me directly at noanimalleftbehind at gmail dot com.


Phoebe Flynn said...

Believe it or not, even California has disasters other than just earth quakes.

In 1996 my husband & I were living in Placerville, CA and were active in the equine community. So when Terri Crisp offered an Emergency Animal Rescue Course in our area we signed up. We wanted to be prepared in case of forest fire.

Who knew that in less than 1 year we would put those classes to use when the levies on the Sacrament River broke and flooded Marysville, CA in 1997.

Good-hearted Volunteers from all over Northern California showed up at the fairground and started creating holding pens everywhere and anywhere.

The few of us that had taken Terri's course were prepared to act as team leads and get things organized.

Every animal has to be photographed, numbered and documented into a found binder.

Animals needed to be put in areas together so that they can be cared for based on type of animal.

I was in the dog area when volunteers started to panic when it was discovered that a gang had planned to come in after dark and kidnap the rottweilers and dobermans. (even without papers they could sell them for $500-1500 each) and we had a lot of them.

I got my team together and evaluated what our options were. In a matter of 2 hours we were able to rearrange more than a 100 makeshift kennels into a wagon-wheel configuration and put all the high risk dogs in the center under the flood lights and the noisiest low risk dogs on the outer ring where it was darker. (we used them as the alarm system). This allowed the overnight security volunteers an easier way to cover their area.

By knowing in advance how to organize a mass animal rescue almost every cat, dog, horse, pig, goat, sheep, cow, rabbit and even chickens got back to their rightful home.

The few that did not were properly adopted. I know, because I ended up with to orphaned chickens.

No one showing up for to find a lost pet was allowed to freely wonder through the rescued animal. They had to complete a lost animal form and give a detail description of the animal that they lost.

We are not always with our pets at the time of emergencies and are not allowed to return home to retrieve. That is when official Emergency Animal Rescue Service members step in.