The Louisiana State Animal Response Team (LSART) was requested to assist ASPCA with the response to Hurricane Michael. Since the Panama City area had little available housing for responders, the LSART trailer was requested to provide housing for responders. On Monday Oct 15 two LSART responders Suzanne Brevelle and Dr. Matt Welborn from the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine drove the LSART truck and trailer to the Humane Society of Bay County in Panama City Florida to meet with the ASPCA team. There was no electricity at the facility and trees/debris were scattered all over the shelter’s grounds. Dogs and cats were brought to the shelter by owners who were unable to care for them and by ASPCA personnel rescuing them from the surrounding area.
Dr. Welborn worked with volunteers from the Florida State Animal Rescue Coalition preparing the building for the soon-to-come onslaught of homeless and surrendered animals. The Humane Society director’s office became an isolation ward. Much of the time was spent reorganizing shelter’s pharmacy/supply room to more efficiently find and dispense medications, supplies and equipment. Dr. Welborn also assisted with managing the intake of large amounts of donated veterinary supplies.
The first animals began arriving on Tuesday and by the end of the day 11 dogs, 1 cat and a turtle had arrived. At the end of the day on Friday, 65 dogs, 36 cats and the turtle were calling the shelter “home” for the time being. Numerous animals, including 2 guinea pigs were transferred to shelters and rescues unaffected by the hurricane and others were reunited with their owners.
Dr. Welborn assisted veterinarians from Florida as they provided physical exams and treatment of sick and wounded animals. Some conditions seen were urinary tract infections, keratoconjunctivitis, upper respiratory infections, an embedded collar and a gunshot wound. Multiple agencies were coordinated to provide each animal with compassionate loving care.
The LSART responders returned by Oct 20. The LSART truck and trailer will remain until there is no longer a need for responder housing. It is currently being used to house Florida veterinarians who are members of the Florida State Animal Rescue Coalition providing care at the shelter.
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KEEP YOUR PETS SAFE! KEEP THEM OUT OF FLOODWATERS.
The Louisiana State Animal Response Team (LSART) developed from the Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association (LVMA) Disaster Committee. After the response to Hurricane Katrina, LSART became a division of the Dr. Walter J. Ernst Veterinary Memorial Foundation (WJE). WJE is the non-profit foundation associated with the LVMA.
WHO WE ARE:
LSART is an organization of groups and individuals with an interest in animal well-being related to emergencies or disasters. Veterinarians, animal control officers, humane organizations, and citizen volunteers make up LSART's membership list.
WHAT WE DO:
- Makes resources available to parishes for emergency planning, response and recovery.
- Assists local jurisdictions in planning and preparing for all types of emergencies involving all animals.
- Registers teams of volunteers in companion animal, equine and food animal sections.
- Provides training in NIMS, ICS, evacuation protocols, shelter management and other aspects of emergency planning.
- Provides community public information and messaging for emergency preparedness.
- Responds to emergencies by assisting with evacuation, sheltering, and search and rescue.
We want to reminds Animal Owners and Animal Facility Owners
that they must take responsibility for preparing to evacuate
or care for the animals in their care in event of an emergency.
Please see our animal owners page for tips on getting prepared!
Please click here for our current LSART Household Pet Evacuation and Sheltering Manual
LSART does not respond outside of the state/federal system. We work with them and fulfill request that they have received. You should always contact your Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness, animal control(or your sheriffs office for the 27 parishes with no animal control), and then the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry. LSART responds to request that these agencies make for assistance. This helps keep responses organized and efficient.
If all the animals were gone, man would surely perish from a loneliness of spirit- Chief Seattle