- 1. Anti-Cruelty Crew Battles Toxic Flood Waters in Tennessee
- 2. ASPCA Happy Tails: Ma Belle Amie
- 3. Go Orange Photo Contest Winners Announced!
- 4. What If Disaster Strikes? Emergency Planning for Pets
1. Anti-Cruelty Crew Battles Toxic Flood Waters in Tennessee
When disaster strikes, it is the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team’s first priority to get to the scene to save as many animals as possible. At the height of the recent flooding in Tennessee, the team navigated swift water currents to pull struggling animals from floodwaters, out of trees and from dilapidated homes.
On May 8, a family that had been forced to leave more than a dozen pets behind placed a desperate call to the local authorities. "The family had been able to move the animals to higher ground before they were evacuated," reports Allison Cardona, the Response Team's Director of Operations. "But this was almost four days prior, and we had no idea what condition we would find the animals in."
Aided by a powerful and fully equipped search and rescue boat, the Team set off for the home in question, battling hazardous materials and toxic waters. The water itself was a deadly soup, reports Kyle Held, Midwest Director of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. "It's polluted by sewage, kerosene, garbage, bleach and other hazardous chemicals—and the toxins are everywhere."
The team arrived at the scene to discover a dozen chickens, a peacock and a goat huddled on dry land that was rapidly shrinking. After taking precautions, they successfully secured the animals on the boat, and then saved a small Tabby cat stuck on top of a trailer engulfed in water.
Read more about the Team's treacherous mission to save animals in need on the ASPCA Blog.
Action Tip: Expect the unexpected! You never know when you and your pets might have to evacuate—grab a free pet safety pack from the ASPCA.
2. ASPCA Happy Tails: Ma Belle Amie
In July 2005, a demolition crew stumbled upon 10 baying Beagles living near an abandoned building in the Bronx, NY. The dogs were brought to the ASPCA, where they were cared for and eventually adopted to loving homes. We recently caught up with one of the lucky adopters, Patricia Looby of Suffolk County, NY, and her precious pup Tara Belle.
ASPCA: How did you first hear about Tara Belle?
Patricia: We first heard about the “Bronx Beagles” after a feature on the news caught my husband John’s attention. Since John always wanted a Beagle, we made the trip to the ASPCA in Manhattan to fill out the necessary paperwork and were told the Beagles were just about ready for adoption.
ASPCA: When did you meet Tara Belle?
Patricia: We received a call approximately a week later to come down to the ASPCA to be matched up with a Beagle. When my husband and I first met Taraas she was called by the ASPCA staffshe was so timid and sweet and just wanted affection. We were told she had been used as a puppy mill mom many times and was on the mend from what were probably very abusive conditions. We renamed her "Tara Belle," and call her “Belle.”
ASPCA: How has she settled into your home?
Patricia: It’s been almost five years since Belle joined our family, and she loves everything and everybody, including her two sisters, a Cocker Spaniel named Daisy and a Shih Tzu named Brownie.
ASPCA: Does she have any funny habits?
Patricia: Belle loves to sing or bay every morning. Sometimes she gathers up all of the dog toys and puts them on her bed like babies and lies down with themI think this must be from all those years of giving up her puppies too soon.
ASPCA: What does Belle mean to you and your family?
Patricia: I was diagnosed with breast cancer approximately eight months ago, and Belle and her sisters have gotten me through the treatments with their love and affection. Sometimes animals and people come into your life for a reason, and the "girls" have kept me going. I cannot express how much she and her sisters mean to me. I guess it takes a survivor to help one, and since Belle made it, so can I.
To read more inspiring stories of furry fate, check out our Happy Tails archive.
3. Go Orange Photo Contest Winners Announced!
This April, to honor Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, we asked animal lovers across the country to send us photos of people and pets decked out in their finest orange gear. We were overwhelmed by your response and amazing submissions but finally narrowed it down to our top 10 favorite images. Thank you for joining in the ASPCA spirit, and congratulations to all of the winning photographers and their two- and four-legged subjects.
Check out the winners of the 2010 Go Orange Photo Contest!
4. What If Disaster Strikes? Emergency Planning for Pets
As Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, and the current tragedies in the Gulf Coast region and Tennessee illustrate, disasters come in all shapes and sizes. Even with the aid of disaster response teams, homes and families were devastated by these destructive eventsand many evacuees lost their companion animals.
With hurricane season just around the corner, the ASPCA reminds you to help keep your family intact by creating an emergency evacuation plan. Even if you don’t live in an area that’s known for dangerous weather, please take the following simple actions before you’re forced to confront a catastrophe.
Have an Evacuation Plan in Place
Plan for the worst-case scenario. Store an emergency kit and leashes as close to an exit as possible, make sure all your pets are wearing proper identification and consider your evacuation route ahead of time. Download our Ready Pets brochure (pdf) on pet-friendly evacuation for more information.
Arrange a Safe Haven
Don’t leave your pet behind if you’re forced to evacuate. Find out if there are emergency animal shelters in your area. If not, take these steps to keep your pet safe.
Pre-Pack an Emergency Kit
Prepare a “go kit” of essential pet supplies before disaster strikes, and make sure that everyone in the family knows where it is. The kit should be clearly labeled, easy to carry and should include items such as a pet first aid kit, recent photos of your animal companion and any medications on which his health depends.
Choose a Designated Caregiver
Consider who you’d like to act as your pet’s temporary caregiver should you not make it home in time to retrieve your pet. Make sure the person you choose agrees to take on the responsibility, has a key to your residence and has spent time getting to know your animal companion.
Get a Rescue Alert Sticker
Affix these decals, available for free from the ASPCA website, to the windows of your home to alert rescue officials that a pet lives inside.
Visit the Disaster Preparedness, section of our website to read our complete list of tips available in both English and Spanish.