Without the forewarning of an approaching hurricane or the howling winds that locals recognize as impending trouble, the residents of the area in and around Baton Rouge awoke last Saturday to devastating flooding that has resulted in 13 human deaths, damage to 40,000 homes, the evacuation of more than 20,000 people and the death and dislocation of an as yet unknown number of pets and livestock.
This heartbreaking situation is compounded by the fact that much of the inundated area is traditional high ground that has never previously flooded. This is an area where people and animals are normally sheltered from storms and flooding; however, by last Sunday, the waters of the Amite River had risen to a historic high of 46.2 feet in Denham Springs, one of the worst hit areas. According to the Huffington Post, the Denham Springs Animal Shelter was “completely engulfed in rising floodwaters. Staff and volunteers fought to save as many animals as possible but eventually unlatched the kennel’s doors so that the dogs could swim out and climb onto the facility’s roof to safety.”
Throughout the week, Best Friends has been coordinating with our network partner organizations in the area and alerted our volunteers within a 100-mile radius of the disaster as to their needs. We have also begun distributing grants to local groups involved with the rescue, sheltering and transport of pets impacted by the flood.
Today, Best Friends is activating a dedicated relief fund to which we are inviting our members and friends to contribute. Contributions will be greatly appreciated by all of Best Friends’ No More Homeless Pets Network partner groups that are in Louisiana rescuing pets under dangerous conditions. Please join us in supporting the lifesaving work that local groups are engaged in. Contribute now, or please consider donating directly to a local lifesaving organization that you know and trust.
In the days and weeks to come, as the full scope of the damage to local rescue and shelter organizations becomes known, we will accept recovery grant applications from any qualified organization that has been damaged by the flood or has incurred exceptional costs to care for, feed, house or transport flood zone animals.
I particularly want to acknowledge the exemplary work of our partners: Acadiana Animal Aid, ARNO, Spaymart, Animal Aid for Vermilion Area, St. Tammany Humane Society and Companion Animal Alliance — all of which are in need of assistance. These groups are aligned with Best Friends’ no-kill mission and some have achieved no-kill status.
Please help us ensure that this disaster does not set them back and that the loss of animal life is kept to an absolute minimum. This is a very difficult time for everyone in this region. Here is a full list of our Louisiana partners. Your thoughtfulness and generosity is greatly appreciated.
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Best Friends Animal Society