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ASPCA Deploys Disaster Response Team to Assist in Animal Evacuations, Sheltering in Anticipation of Hurricane Gustav

August 30, 2008

NEW YORK, August 30, 2008 - The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) has deployed a team of disaster response experts to assist the state of Louisiana in pre- and post-storm evacuation and sheltering in anticipation of Hurricane Gustav. Louisiana state officials have declared a pre-storm State of Emergency, and Gustav is a Category 3 Hurricane that could make landfall as early as Monday morning, September 1.

“We have received numerous requests for assistance from local parish shelters and other animal welfare organizations in Louisiana,” said Sandy Monterose, the ASPCA’s Senior Director of Community Outreach. “We are working closely with the Louisiana State Animal Response Team to assist and provide resources.”

Members of the ASPCA disaster response team arrived at the site of the Louisiana Mega Shelter in Shreveport, La. on Friday, August 29. One disaster response trailer, being driven by other ASPCA team members, will arrive on Saturday. The ASPCA also contacted its partner agency, the Saranac Technical Rescue Team, to be on standby for post-storm activity. Currently, the ASPCA team is involved in sheltering efforts on the ground and is working to coordinate evacuation of local animal shelters.

“We are pleased to be able to lend our assistance, both in terms of human resources and equipment, in disaster relief efforts,” said ASPCA President and CEO Ed Sayres. “By using our resources strategically and making key connections at the local levels, the ASPCA’s Disaster Response team is able to effectively respond to shelters and animals in need.”

The ASPCA’s Disaster Response Team of ten, which includes a veterinarian, veterinary technicians, disaster responders and sheltering professionals, was deployed at the request of the Louisiana State Animal Response Team (LSART), which serves as the volunteer animal emergency response partner of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry under ESF-11.

Other agencies besides the ASPCA that are assisting LSART’s efforts include United Animal Nations, Code 3, American Humane Association, the Humane Society of the United States, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Best Friends, Noah’s Wish and numerous other humane and disaster response groups.

The ASPCA's Disaster Response Team was created in September, 2005 as a mechanism to assist with the rescue of animals in crisis during a disaster. As the need grew across the country, the ASPCA responded by deploying the teams nationwide when requested by the agency having jurisdiction.