Shreveport, La. -- More than 1,000 animals -- including cats, dogs, lizards, rabbits, turtles and snakes -- filled the Louisiana Mega Shelter to capacity Sept. 1 as Hurricane Gustav hit.
-- More than 1,000 animals -- including cats, dogs, lizards, rabbits, turtles and snakes -- filled the Louisiana Mega Shelter to capacity Sept. 1 as Hurricane Gustav hit.
Matthew Hinton/AFP/Getty Images
Courtney Tobias (center) tries to put her pet dog, Lucky, into a cardboard pet carrier with the help of Elaine Tobias (left) and Juanita Miller with the New Orleans Metropolitan Human Services District, at the the New Orleans Union Amtrak Passenger Terminal Aug. 30.
Lessons were learned the hard way when Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana in 2005 and brought about the largest animal rescue effort in U.S. history. This time around, no one was taking any chances.
The Louisiana State Animal Response Team (LSART) set up a mega shelter in Shreveport and on Aug. 29 requested volunteers from various organizations. In addition to veterinarianvolunteers, the group thanked the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), American Humane, Noah's Wish, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the International Fund for Animal Welfare, Best Friends, Code 3, the United Animal Nations and numerous other volunteers for their efforts in sheltering the crush of animals that fled the Gulf Coast with their owners. An American Red Cross shelter for people is near the animal mega shelter.
Shelter and homeless animals collected off the streets of New Orleans also were transported to the mega shelter and other local shelters, according to HSUS.
By Monday afternoon, the Shreveport shelter had to stop accepting more animals, with more than1,000 already housed there, but LSART on Sept. 3 declared its evacuation plan a success and says steps are being taken to return pets to their communities as residents return home after the storm.