Almost a decade after Hurricane Katrina, the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Louisiana SPCA) is diligently working to regain the capacity lost when the former shelter located in the Upper Ninth Ward was destroyed beyond repair by the worst natural disaster this country has ever seen. With the help of The Humane Society of the United States and others, the Louisiana SPCA is now entering into Phase II of expansion at the new location.
Phase to completed in early 2015
In 2007, The HSUS donated $2 million toward Phase I of the Louisiana SPCA’s new facility. Those funds paired with privately donated dollars were instrumental in the construction efforts. More recently, with a $250,000 donation from The HSUS combined with privately donated dollars and $8 million from FEMA, the Louisiana SPCA is expecting Phase II to be completed in early 2015.
Thousands of animals rescued
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, it’s estimated that more than 15,000 animals were ultimately rescued and 3,000 reunited with their families. The number of animals that died in Hurricane Katrina is unknown, but it’s estimated to be in the tens of thousands. In that landscape of devastation, the Louisiana SPCA led the charge and continued the work to eliminate animal suffering.
“Amidst the chaos emerged one of the most enduring bonds – the human/animal bond,” says Louisiana SPCA CEO Ana Zorrilla. “During the weeks, months and years following the storm, it became clear that we need them as much as they need us. Now the work must not only continue, but advance.”
Phase I and Phase II
Phase I re-established the basic functions of animal sheltering in New Orleans, providing space for animal control services, stray animal collection, cruelty investigations and a temporary adoption center. Phase II focuses on the human/animal bond and introduces the public to innovative humane education programs and a low-cost veterinary care center, while also expanding the adoption program.
HSUS committed to recovery
Julia Breaux-Melancon, Louisiana state director for The HSUS says, “Since the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, The HSUS has been committed to the recovery of the New Orleans area through the funding and support of programs and organizations that work to better the lives of animals in our state. We are so pleased to assist in the implementation of the next phase of the Louisiana SPCA facility, which will allow more pet owners access to much needed resources and low-cost veterinary services.”
Anyone wishing to donate to Phase II of the Louisiana SPCA and to help enrich the human/animal bond in the New Orleans community can visit www.la-spca.org/phaseII. Donor recognition naming options are also available for donations starting at $10,000.
In advance of Hurricane Katrina, the Louisiana SPCA successfully evacuated 263 shelter animals to safety. However, as residents evacuated, most left without their pets due to animals not being allowed on buses, in shelters, and other places.
An estimated 104,000 animals remained in New Orleans and the surrounding areas as Hurricane Katrina made landfall.
Hurricane Katrina resulted in the largest animal rescue operation in U.S. history by the Louisiana SPCA, The HSUS and other animal welfare organizations.