ASPCA Disaster Response: Assisting Animals Impacted by Hurricane Ida

ASPCA Disaster Response: Assisting Animals Impacted by Hurricane Ida

September 14, 2021

Our disaster response team remains on the ground in Southern Louisiana providing ongoing assistance for pets and shelter animals impacted by the long-term effects of Hurricane Ida. Since our efforts began, we’ve assisted more than 700 impacted animals through pre- and post-storm evacuations of homeless cats and dogs, water and land search-and-rescue, emergency sheltering, and pet food distribution.

In addition, we’re assisting with the rescue of animals at risk of severe flooding in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Nicholas. 

In coordination with national, state and local organizations including American Humane, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), and the Louisiana State Animal Response Team (LSART), we are providing emergency sheltering for dozens of pets and shelter animals displaced by Hurricane Ida. The animal welfare groups collaborated to set up an emergency shelter in response to an urgent request from Terrebonne Parish Animal Shelter and Lafourche Parish Animal Shelter after both shelters and their staff were impacted by the storm. The animals, including many whose owners were forced to evacuate from their homes ahead of the storm, are receiving much-needed housing and care, including medical and behavioral services, until they can be reunited with their families or, if surrendered, placed into new homes.

“People and animals alike are continuing to experience the devastating effects of Hurricane Ida weeks after the storm made landfall and are now at risk of additional flooding impacts from Tropical Storm Nicholas. The ASPCA is committed to meeting these ongoing needs to ensure pet owners and local animal welfare professionals have essential support and resources to get back on their feet,” said Susan Anderson, Director of ASPCA Disaster Response. “We know the best way to approach disasters of this magnitude is through strong collaboration, and we are grateful for the many groups we’re working alongside to bring displaced animals to safety and help impacted families care for their pets.”

We’ve also been on the ground in Jefferson Parish and Plaquemines Parish at the request of Jefferson Protection and Animal Welfare Services (JPAW) and Louisiana SPCA, respectively, providing additional sheltering support, conducting water and land rescues, and assisting with pet food distribution. In addition, the ASPCA assisted with the emergency evacuation of more than 200 homeless shelter animals before the storm hit and immediately after landfall. The ASPCA is able to assist animals impacted by Hurricane Ida and Tropical Storm Nicholas in part thanks to support from the Alex and Elisabeth Lewyt Charitable Trust.

September 3, 2021

At the request of the Louisiana State Animal Rescue Team (LSART), the ASPCA response team is on the ground conducting water and land rescues throughout south Louisiana for animal victims impacted by Hurricane Ida, collaborating on this joint disaster relief effort with International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Code 3 Associates to bring animals to safety.

Following rescue efforts, we are also supporting local emergency sheltering needs in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, and preparing to support ongoing sheltering needs with an emergency shelter in Knoxville, Tennessee, with the Humane Society of Tennessee Valley. This will provide much-needed housing and care, including medical and behavioral services, for homeless cats and dogs who have been displaced by the storm. The emergency shelter operation in Knoxville is also being supported by FedEx, who is providing complimentary transportation of critical resources.

In addition to mobilizing emergency shelter services, we’ve already assisted in evacuating more than 150 homeless animals out of impacted communities and worked with shelters nationwide to find space for the dogs and cats.

“The bravery and dedication of animal welfare groups and agencies collaborating to move vulnerable animals out of harm’s way has been absolutely inspiring, and we’re proud to have our specialists among them to assist Gulf Coast communities devastated by Hurricane Ida,” said Matt Bershadker, President and CEO of the ASPCA. “As the work shifts from water and land rescues to operating emergency animal shelters, we will continue to do all we can to support these animals and their owners.”

Hurricane Ida made landfall on August 29 as a category 4 storm and has already caused significant destruction with major flooding, high winds and power outages. While we continue to care for the animals affected, the ASPCA disaster response team remains in communications with local and state emergency response agencies and will continue to provide assistance for impacted shelters and displaced animals and pet owners.

August 28, 2021

UPDATE: In addition to the 28 homeless cats relocated on Friday, August 27, we are now assisting local shelters along the Gulf Coast in the evacuation of more than 150 homeless animals in the path of Hurricane Ida. Today, we are helping to relocate 23 dogs from Terrebonne Parish Animal Shelter in Louisiana to Tri-City Animal Shelter in Texas. Additionally, we are collaborating with Petco Love to support Brandywine SPCA and Wings of Rescue by sponsoring a flight that will transport approximately 110 cats and dogs from Tangipahoa Parish to Brandywine and Massachusetts SPCA. All of the animals transported out of impacted communities in advance of the storm are unowned and will be made available for adoption.

August 27, 2021

The ASPCA is currently assisting in the evacuation of 28 homeless cats and kittens in the path of Hurricane Ida. The shelter animals are being relocated at the request of Galveston County Animal Services as they work to evacuate animals from their shelter ahead of the storm making landfall. The cats are being transported by us to SPCA of Texas in Dallas, where they will be made available for adoption. In addition, the ASPCA is helping to evacuate more than 100 additional homeless animals from shelters in Louisiana. We are also strongly urging residents along the Gulf Coast to incorporate their pets into preparedness and evacuation plans.

“Evacuating animals in the path of disasters is a lifesaving aspect of emergency response efforts because it gives homeless animals a second chance while freeing up resources for potentially displaced pets in impacted communities,” said Susan Anderson, Director of Disaster Response for the ASPCA National Field Response Team. “We commend Galveston County Animal Services for recognizing the urgent need to move these cats out of harm’s way and are grateful to the SPCA of Texas for opening their doors to these animals in need.”

Hurricane Ida is expected to bring heavy rainfall, storm surge and high winds throughout the next several days as it quickly approaches the Gulf Coast. Our disaster response team is in communications with local and state emergency response agencies and stands ready to assist displaced animals and pet owners upon request.

“We are proud to partner with ASPCA to welcome these cats and kittens into our care, where they will be safe from the incoming Hurricane Ida,” said Courtney Burns, Interim Vice President of Animal Welfare for the SPCA of Texas. “Our organization will provide these animals with the care they need until we are able to find them happy homes in the coming days and weeks.”

“We are grateful to the ASPCA for working with us to evacuate these cats,” said Monique Ryans, Interim Director of Animal Services at the Galveston County Animal Resource Center. “While it does not currently look like Hurricane Ida will be headed our direction, we wanted to err on the side of caution—and early—in case there was any change in the storm’s path. Partnerships like this are vital when evacuating animals in the path of potential disasters.”

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