On January 12, the ASPCA extended its full support to organizations providing humanitarian relief in the ravaged island nation of Haiti. Understanding that the animal victims of this disaster were in desperate need of help, too—the ASPCA joined the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH). The coalition is headed by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), and in addition to the ASPCA, consists of a number of animal welfare groups including American Humane, Best Friends, the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International.
On January 29, along with several other ARCH members, Jeff Eyre, the Northeast Director of the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team, was deployed to Haiti to assist with animal relief efforts. An estimated 5 million head of livestock, a large stray dog population as well as a number of companion animals and native wildlife were critically affected by the earthquake and in desperate need of aid.
With limited communication in and out of the area, the following is a transcript of several field reports sent by Jeff while on the frontlines.
Field Reports from the Scene
The following is a series of field reports from Jeff on the ground in Erie County.
Field Report # 1
Arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and met with local ARCH member Sodo Prieca. They have a base camp set up within the embassy compound. Security is tight with both local state and federal presence. This compound is patrolled by U.N. troops.
We were able to secure a third vehicle through IFAW—in a three-vehicle convoy, re-checking specific areas for any recurring issues. We then split into two patrols. Our team then proceeded to the American Embassy for a meeting.
After this meeting, we proceeded to the U.N. logistics base and made a supply pick-up.
Community is strong and accepting our presence with our local partners, showing the awareness and empathy needed for an integration of animal and humane needs. Saw five cows, four goats, chickens—who also come to meals with us—a couple of pigs and some street dogs—average condition. Will check in again…
Field Report #2
Morning meeting was conducted with on-ground members of ARCH, and we learned some of the challenges and issues facing animal welfare here. Two teams were formed and deployed to the city to check those areas where assessments indicated there are animals in need.
Vaccinated and checked 29 dogs and five cats. One dog had his lower right leg missing from a fresh injury, which we treated, and then released the dog to his owner.
We finished up and returned to the street with our tents—we even made a shower out of PVC pipe and a Coke bottle. Tomorrow we’ll be returning to the city for further welfare check-ups.
Field Report #3
Today our teams went into several communities and vaccinated 44 dogs, 13 cats and seven pigs. We also made arrangements to vaccinate and check animals in two other tent cities. We have revived our request to check the equine center. Pics to follow…
Field Report #4
Lassie: Lassie was brought to us to look at and as we were checking I noticed an imbedded collar, which I cut out of her neck. After further medical checks, Doctor Thomas, the Haitian Deputy Minister of Environment, who was with our team for the day, performed field surgery to remove the maggots and sew her neck wound. Three people assisted on the procedure: vet tech Connie of Defenders of Animals, Dick Green of IFAW and Doctor Thomas’s assistant.
Puppy in a wall: There were three puppies found with a very undernourished momma. The puppies were living in the broken wall and the one woke up for an exam.
Field Report #5
Today we went back into the city and stopped at an area to treat local dogs and cats. A woman who was by her house said that we were the first people to offer any help or stop to ask if they were all right. We then moved into a more devastated area and again set up and treated dogs and cats.
After this we drove to the Bolivian army base where they have requested us to check the dogs that are there. We estimated there were ten dogs and one possibly with puppies. The army offered to feed us and use their personal facilities. The team will return tomorrow to complete the assignment.
We then returned to our tent cities area and set up again and treated and performed wellness checks on dogs and cats. Today there were 48 dogs and 18 cats. One dog was treated and is a possible candidate for surgery for a tumor. We submitted an on scene photo for veterinarian review.
There is a red alert for a possible earth quake until Sunday and rain and flood warnings until Thursday. There is little left of buildings and what shelter there is will not sustain any further weather extremes. It is estimated another 100,000 people will be displaced if this weather comes. I am supposed to rotate out in the early am.
For vital information on creating disaster plans that include your pets, visit our Disaster Preparedness Tips.