NEW YORK—In anticipation of Hurricane Isaac, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is assisting the Humane Society of South Mississippi in pre-evacuation efforts by transporting animals from Gulfport, Miss., to the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The ASPCA's custom-built, 40-foot-long animal transport trailer is en route to Fort Lauderdale and is scheduled to arrive at the Humane Society of Broward County this afternoon.
"Having been through Hurricane Katrina and responding to numerous disasters, we learned that by assisting agencies with pre-evacuation efforts and getting animals out of harm's way, we could greatly reduce the number of animals impacted by the hurricane,” said Dr. Dick Green, director of Disaster Response for the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response (FIR) team. "The ASPCA is pleased to be in a position to assist the Humane Society of South Mississippi and be part of a collaborative effort to relocate these dogs and give them a second chance. We worked quickly to get these shelter animals out of Gulfport and transport them safely to the Humane Society of Broward County where they will eventually be made available for adoption."
The animals, mostly large mixed breed dogs, will be placed up for adoption as early as Thursday by the Humane Society of Broward County once the animals are evaluated and given time to settle in.
"As we approach the exact anniversary of Katrina's landfall just seven years later, we have learned many lessons," said Tara High, executive director of the Humane Society of South Mississippi. "One of the lessons was to have a plan—and have partnering shelters and organizations on our side, ready to help if ever we need it. We know that our planning and our partnerships mean less lives are lost and happier endings for displaced shelter animals."
"We are fortunate that we have the space available to assist the Humane Society of South Mississippi and hope their shelter is not damaged in the upcoming storm," said Jo-Anne Roman, senior vice president of Operations at the Humane Society of Broward County.
According to weather reports, Hurricane Isaac is bearing down on the Gulf Coast and is expected to make landfall in New Orleans today. Dr. Green and the FIR team are monitoring the situation closely and have organized sheltering and water-rescue teams to support the local agencies if needed. Additionally, the ASPCA is providing emergency grants to those communities impacted by the hurricane, offering assistance to agencies such as the Louisiana State Animal Response Team to increase its water rescue capacity.
Dr. Green added, "We are monitoring the projected path of Hurricane Isaac, and we stand ready to assist in animal rescue and relief efforts as soon as we're needed."