Latest Hurricane News from Best Friends

Best Friends Rushes 3,000 Animal Carriers to New Orleans To Support Families Encountering Pet Evacuation Problems
Amid reports that some families boarding evacuation buses are not being allowed to take their pets aboard unless they are in proper pet carriers, Best Friends Animal Society will rush 3,000 of the carriers to Terrebone, Jefferson and St. Bernard parishes in New Orleans as Hurricane Gustav bears down on the city.

“It’s unfortunate, but many people forget to prepare for natural disasters by keeping a carrier handy for easy pet transport,” said Rich Crook, rapid response manager for Best Friends and a veteran of Best Friends’ six-month deployment in 2005 to rescue animals during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

“Our team will rush in 3,000 carriers tonight to supplement immediate needs at evacuation centers and we’ll get more tomorrow as needed,” said Crook. “This is looking like a very serious storm, much more powerful than Katrina, and people need all possible help to make sure their pets are out of harm’s way.”

With Gustav predicted to reach landfall as a possible Category 5 hurricane as early as Monday, Best Friends’ rapid response personnel deployed to New Orleans this week to help finalize animal evacuation plans in Jefferson Parish, the west suburb of New Orleans. In addition, Best Friends has conducted on-site assessment in St. Bernard Parish to ensure that an evacuation plan is under way.

Just three years after helping to rescue more than 6,000 dogs and cats following Katrina, Best Friends finds itself back in The Big Easy, but things are a bit different this time around.

“Compared to three years ago, everyone seems much more prepared for a storm,” Crook said. “But while transporting animals from shelters have been moving along nicely, we are also troubled by reports that some families evacuated their homes, but left their animals behind.”

Once the storm passes, Best Friends’ rapid response personnel, depending on weather conditions, will switch focus from evacuation support to recovery and rescue.

“We will be there as long as necessary to help local agencies with evacuation and recovery efforts—whatever the situation dictates,” said Paul Berry, chief executive officer of Best Friends Animal Society.

“Our rapid response team is well-trained, experienced, and will monitor need around the clock. And our Best Friends Network is the single largest animal rescue volunteer network in the country, so we’re well prepared, no matter what the scale of effort.”

Check their Rapid Response web page for more info on Best Friends preparations for the hurricane season.

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