I haven't spent time engaging in dialogue via email or responding to the internet rumors as I’d be spending my entire day doing so. But, I wanted to respond to the message below. Please feel free to forward onto your lists.
In an effort to get closer to the truth amidst the rumors and conflicting reports, we have developed a multi-agency assessment team that will be fanning four New Orleans hot spots -- Lower 9th, East New Orleans, Lakeview, and Gentilly – to systematically evaluate at our animal situation. We’re working two shifts (6 am - 9 am and 5 pm – 8 pm) as animals are most active at dawn and dusk. We’ll tally our results on Thursday and determine next steps.
It’s my hope to a) obtain a better understanding of the state-of animals in New Orleans by using a systematic approach, and b) to tailor future animal response efforts to match the needs of the community. The team includes two members each from HSUS, ASPCA, Best Friends, United Animal Nations, LA/SPCA, and individuals who have been working at independent rescue sites (Richard from Winn Dixie, for example).
We hope that this assessment will offer greater clarity about our true situation (NOTE: The LA/SPCA is only focused on New Orleans and is not working in the other parishes such as St. Bernard, Plaquemines, etc.).
I’ve never been one for perpetuating myths or histrionics. If Jane Garrison or others have specific information about animals in need, I’ve asked them to call us at 368-5191, ext 100. Sadly, we were forwarded emails where people entioned “testing” us with false reports to see how fast we’d respond. Yesterday, one of our visiting teams responded to a call only to find see an “animal rescue” vehicle flee when they approached. I would hope that would-be rescuers wouldn’t waste valuable resources playing games with animals’ lives.
Thankfully we’ve received a tremendous outpouring from professionals across the country who have sent staff and resources to help us with the overwhelmingly challenging tasks of establishing a semi-permanent shelter, vet clinic, housing staff, capturing strays, reuniting pets & owners, working with the military & cadaver teams, and the daily care of the animals we rescue. In just the past few weeks, we’ve had staff from HSUS, ASPCA, Missouri, Texas, and Nebraska, San Diego, Pasadena,
helping us every day to make things happen.
I also wish to clarify that the LA/SPCA has not stated that it has everything “under control” but has said that its visiting animal control teams and local residents are not seeing evidence of the thousands of starving animals that Jane writes about. We're trapping every night and definitely seeing strays, but we're not seeing thousands. We always need volunteers to work with us to serve the needs of New Orleans’ animal community. Not everyone, however, wants to work within the system.