Hurricane Animal Rescue Information

Cat Out Loud sent me to the Ally Cat Allies site for the best Rita Animal Rescue info on the web. I sent it to my excellent Veterinarian at the Edgerton Vet Clinic to post on the bulletin board. Veterinarian Lisa Nordquist sent me this very interesting e-mail in return.

Hi - thought you'd like to know I printed & will post the Ally Cat Allies message on clinic bulletin board.

Traci & I just got back from a week in Baton Rouge. We were at the Parker Coliseum treating rescued/sheltered pets. The entire coliseum was full of pets, the cats alone occupied all the hallways around the coliseum.

Even had several giant tortoises, a pig, tons of cats & dogs.

We visited another shelter facility housing a least a thousand pit bulls, & many other pets as well. Apparently New Orleans has/had a huge illegal dog fighting ring - we certainly saw enough pit bulls with significant old battle wounds to prove it.

We are hoping most of dog fighting people won't claim them & try to find non-fighting homes for them. This may prove to be futile since many shelters will not adopt out pit bulls simply due to the legal ramifications associated with pit bulls track records for bites/attacks - especially against other dogs.

Thanks, Lisa


Blogger Animal Rescue said...

It's been almost a year after katrina, but still we need volunteers urgently to feed and water animals.
Residents and out-of-towners desperately needed.
Warehouse animal care needed. Can you help us?

2:04 PM  
Blogger Kim Upham said...

Thank you for providing this important information about the hurricanes and animals. I thought your readers would also be interested in this new documentary, Dark Water Rising, featuring heroic animal rescues in the wake of hurricanes Rita and Katrina. A note from the filmmaker follows. If you would share it with your readers, I'd really appreciate it.

Thank you.

Kim Upham

Greetings from Mike Shiley!

I am pleased to announce a private DVD release and pre-theatrical sale of DARK WATER RISING: The Truth about Hurricane Katrina Animal Rescues. This is the only documentary film made about animal rescues of Hurricane Katrina.

Over 50,000 dogs and cats were left behind in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The pets (mostly dogs) that survived the flood were locked in houses and chained to fences without food and water for up to six weeks.

A small group of brave rescuers from around the world risked their lives to sledgehammer down doors, brave toxic floodwaters and dodge corrupt cops in a race against time to rescue up to 10,000 trapped and starving animals.

Some rescuers worked with the official rescue organization, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), while others joined a more aggressive rescue outfit, code named Winn Dixie.

This film also tells uplifting stories of hope and survival as pets are reunited with their owners while other lucky pets find loving new homes.

These hard earned lessons will help our nation understand the need for animal evacuation plans in natural disasters.

Join me for a behind-the-scenes look at the grim reality of the life and death struggles on the toxic streets of New Orleans.


You may already know me from my other documentary film called, INSIDE IRAQ: THE UNTOLD STORIES (

I am offering you a one-time opportunity to own the DVD before it’s theatrical release.





Mike Shiley


5:45 PM  
Blogger greenconsciousness said...


Those of us who have been involved with the Katrina animal disaster cannot watch this unbiased. For me, there was not much surprising in the film except the images inside one of the schools in St. Bernard Parish where animals had been murdered. That scene was difficult to watch, especially recognizing a few of the dogs. I thought the film was well-done and, for the most part, told it like it was. It is impossible for any one film or book to cover all aspects of this unprecedented disaster; this DVD has a specific focus and does not try to be the final word on the Katrina animal disaster.
The film focuses almost entirely on the rescue and sheltering efforts of HSUS/Lamar Dixon and the in-your-face dog rescues and commentary by two men from Winn Dixie. It does not mention rescue and sheltering efforts by the other groups. Whatever people's opinion of Best Friends, they were not mentioned or shown, although they played a large role in all of this. Also absent from the film was the Humane Society of Louisiana in Tylertown, Noah's Wish which ran the rescue and sheltering operation in St. Tammany Parish, Pasados, Muttshack, UAN/EARS in Monroe, LA, and Alley Cat Allies. There was no mention of the formation of ARNO when HSUS pulled out in October and the LaSPCA called off rescue operations.

The film portrayed a stark contrast between HSUS/Lamar Dixon and Winn Dixie, making it look as if Wayne Pacelle was there the entire time, fully in charge of the operation. Some of the Winn Dixie rescuers came off looking like juvenile delinquents. Both of these portrayals are exaggerations of what really happened.

Larry somebody and Aaron Minjares are the two men from Winn Dixie that the film crew followed around. They are pierced, tattooed, with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths, and very vocal in their opinions that the owners do not deserve to get back their dogs. In one disturbing scene, Larry is shown removing the collar with tags from a dog just rescued from inside a house and throwing the collar back into the house, muttering something stupid about what the owner can do with the collar. There is an interesting scene where Kelly Engol leads the camera crew through the Winn Dixie store at night, asking what kind of liquor everyone wants. She explains that's what they do every night and apologizes that they've "already cleaned out the pharmacy." Mark, the co-founder of Winn Dixie appears in the film only briefly, drunk and slurring whatever it is he was trying to say. The Lamar Dixon volunteers, by contrast to Winn Dixie, came off looking clean-cut, professional and well-organized **

There are many shots of dead and decomposing cats and dogs in addition to the scene inside the school, but the scene that was the hardest for me to watch - and I fast forwarded through it - was a pit-bull fight (film clip was courtesy of HSUS).

I take some issue with the sub-title of the film: The Truth about Hurricane Katrina Animal Rescues. I know that there are many versions of the truth and not an absolute truth to this or any other story. No single film or book or person's experience will capture and convey the truth, other than their subjective experience of it. The core of my truth is that no one expected the levees to break and the city to flood when owners left behind their beloved pets for what would / should have been 24-48 hours.

I think that it's an important film that should be seen by people who have no idea of what went on down there. I hope to organize a screening of it here in conjunction with local rescue events and encourage others to do the same. When possible the film should be followed by discussions and Q & A.

I also want audiences to know what has been happening since the rescues with pets being sent all over the county and the difficulty finding them and reuniting with owners. I want to dispel the idea that these were bad people/bad pet owners who don't deserve their pets back. Personally, I would not have given over the last ten months of my life to help these people get their pets rescued, located and reunited if I didn't believe that they absolutely deserve them back.

We - the hundreds of volunteers who have been helping with this for almost a year now - don't know, assist or work with the bad pet owners. They don't look for their pets and they don't contact us for help. Sadly, they just go out and get replacement pets (to be used as guard dogs, huntin' dogs, chained dogs). The hundreds of pet owners we have had the pleasure and privilege to know and assist are not getting replacement pets because their cats and dogs were members of their families and are irreplaceable.


7:30 AM  
Blogger dog_dev said...

Correction: Larry is not pierced or tattooed, nor does he smoke. He also spent tens of thousands of his own dollars to ship in feed and ship out animals. I myself would be in jail right now for strangling Wayne Pacelle if I had been there so the fact that he threw a collar does not bother me.

And yes, Wayne did come off looking a lot better than he should have, and there were hundreds of people that DID NOT get credit, but it does show what really happened to the animals and that is what is important.

8:36 PM  
Blogger greenconsciousness said...




5:41 AM  
Blogger greenconsciousness said...

Here is the address for that review on No Animal Left Behind. You have to scroll down. cut and paste; love one another, learn from each other-----

5:48 AM  
Anonymous Dorothy said...

There is a blog that had some not so nice things to say about Larry and the people at Winn Dixie. We feel the need provide a little insight into their situation.

The Winn Dixie rescuers were made up of a group of people that were told by HSUS that they were not needed. They all found themselves in NOLA ready, willing and able to help and told to go home. We were on the phone with Larry giving him directions to Lamar Dixon when he was turned away - we heard it. These people took it upon themselves to help the animals at great emotional, financial, physical and psychological cost to themselves. No, they were not good at paperwork and if they had the choice of sitting down and filling out a form or heading back out to rescue a starving dog, they chose to head back out and rescue. We can tell you that they did try to keep records in the beginning but it just wasn't feasible given the situation. They were running off generators, sleeping on pavement and without an internet connection - half the time they couldn't even get their cell phones to work. There isn't anyone that stressed the importance of reuniting the pets with their owners more than we did, but this was a disaster. Everyone had trouble keeping records, Lamar Dixon lost thousands of records.

We know for a fact that Larry rescued animals from 6am until 2am almost every day for three months straight. He'd see dogs dead from starvation or drowned because the dog was on a two foot chain hooked up to a fence, chained under a house or locked in a bathroom with no food or water. The dog in the film had been locked in a bathroom for more than a month, with no food or water, and it's collar(w/o tags) was still was still tight on it's neck - that is why he took it off and threw it. He saw things like this over and over again. Things like that take a toll on any animal lover. The people that went to NOLA to help were compassionate, sensitive souls to begin with or they would not have gone. Some of the volunteer rescuers "cracked" just days after arriving in NOLA. It was an extremely stressful situation. Many animal rescuers went days without sleep. The fact that Larry hung on for three months and was able to save as many animals as he did is nothing short of a miracle. If we had to guess, we'd say he saved close to a thousand animals on his own.

There was no "wink, wink" we'll just keep these dogs. Most of the dogs that the Winn Dixie people rescued were Pit Bulls. For people that don't know anything about Pit Bulls, they are the hardest dogs to place. Especially the ones from NOLA that had all been trained to fight and were heart worm positive. We got calls constantly, "Help, I have 20 Pit Bulls where can I take them - Lamar Dixon turned me away". "I have a Chihuahua with it's eye popped out and HSUS says it's not serious enough to take." "Help, we need a vet" "Help, I have 100 Pit Bulls" We could go on and on. We got calls NON-STOP for months from rescuers looking for places to take animals because Lamar Dixon was full and turned them away. They were not "stealing" pets, they were desperately trying to find places to take them. They had to drive an hour one way to get the animals to Lamar Dixon and an hour back after they had been turned away. That was two hours out of their day that could have been used to rescue more dogs, finally they gave up trying to get rescued dogs into Lamar. All of the rescued animals would have gone to Lamar Dixon if the HSUS would have taken them - they didn't, they turned them away. At that point what should they have done? Stopped rescuing? Or find some place to take them? They chose to keep rescuing and send the animals to whoever would take them. At that stage in the crisis, reuniting the animals with their owners was not the top priority - getting them out of the city, to some place safe, was.

We do not know all of the people that rescued out of Winn Dixie but the ones we do know did not steal anyone's pet. We know because when they would find a dog with a tag, they would call us to try to find the owner.

Yes, there were some people that took it upon themselves to take the animals home with them, not caring whether or not they ever found the owner. We don't condone it but we can understand it. Animal rescuers would be in homes feeding pets when an owner would return, take their television and leave their dog. Another owner came home, found his dog close to death from starvation and decided to put it on the curb with the trash. Rescuers found Pit Bull puppies scarred from fights. We know these things happened because we were on the phone with the rescuer at the time. You don't have to see things like this too many times before you decide to take matters into your own hands. Were they right? We can't say they were wrong.

Yes, there were owners that had no choice but to leave their pet. They were told by rescuers that the LASPCA was right behind them and would get their dog. Some people's dogs jumped of their roof and were lost in the flood. People were forced to leave their dogs with the sheriff. Many people were seriously injured themselves. There are definitely people that deserve to have their pets returned. After all of the loss they have suffered, the additional loss of their pet is not something they should have to endure. Some of these people will probably never be reunited with their pet and we feel for them more than you know. But the sad, undeniable fact is that there were also many people that just left their pets to die. Those pets would have died a slow, painful death from starvation if it weren't for the rescuers like Larry. We think those pets were very happy to be rescued by Larry and the people at Winn Dixie.

10:01 AM  

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