Lamar-Dixon Chronicles #8, #9 – Our Volunteer Effort Expands

I hope you got here from Lamar-Dixon Chronicles #6, #7: Back to Business so you have some context. If not, I suggest you go back to the beginning (Lamar-Dixon Chronicles: Introduction). Each episode links to the next for continuity.

9/26/05: Lamar-Dixon Chronicles #8

Well, the first mission is winding down, but the second is already happening, and the third and fourth are well underway.  Sarah is arriving home tonight – she was hoping to stay another day, but there weren’t any flights available on Tuesday. Sandy and Wendy are planning to return on Wednesday. But Jill Moran, an Animal Control Officer out of San Clemente, is arriving tonight to take over the RV and continue the volunteer rescue efforts. Eric Bruce and Lorrayne Bailey are scheduled to leave on Sunday for a week, and then Cara Calloway (from SoCal) and two of her friends are leaving on October 9th. We expect to have the RV fully occupied with volunteers at least through October 15th.

Starting today, Sandy and Wendy shifted their efforts to rescue in the field. Lamar-Dixon is serving as the coordination and dispatch center (as well as receiving facility) for missions into the city. They meet at 6:00am, get their marching orders and lists, and take off in teams. Rescuers are given tools (crowbars) for gaining access, and they deposit animals at triage centers where they are evaluated and prepped for transport back to the facility. Apparently, there are thousands of outstanding rescue requests from evacuees who left their animals behind in their homes. At this point, weeks into the disaster, the outcomes of these searches are tending more toward non-productive or even grim, but there are still enough successes to make the effort essential and rewarding.

Financial update: Contributions continue to come in, and we have a couple of possibilities for a charitable non-profits to handle the intake and distribution of funds. If one of those comes through, I will update everybody on the options for re-submitting contributions so that they will be tax-deductible. Turns out that some of the pledges we were hoping for were routed to various SPCA and Humane Societies, which doesn’t help our expense defrayal at all. But we’re still OK, and able to provide much better conditions for our volunteers than others at the facility have. If you have airline miles to contribute, please let me know.

9/27/05: Lamar-Dixon Chronicles #9

The Lamar-Dixon mission has taken on a more desperate tone. The call has gone out for anybody who is able to go out in the field and rescue dogs to do so. Following is a message straight from Lamar-Dixon (forwarded by Priscilla Gargalis):

“I just received a call from Jane (Garrison) who is still frantically trying to save as many animals as possible left when Katrina hit New Orleans. There are still 6,000 addresses where people reportedly left animals. Many are being found barely alive at this point. Many have starved to death! THIS IS THE BOTTOM LINE…IF YOU, OR ANYONE YOU KNOW CAN GO TO GONAZALES, LOUISIANA TO HELP WITH THE RESCUE EFFORT…JUST GO. JANE AND HER CREW MEET AT 5:30 A.M. EVERY MORNING IN FRONT OF THE PROWLER TRAILER AT THE LAMAR DIXON EXPO CENTER. TIME IS RUNNING OUT FOR THESE ANIMALS AND THE FEW PEOPLE WHO ARE RESCUING, WILL NOT BE ABLE TO GET THEM ALL OUT IN TIME! THEY ARE DYING OF STARVATION…NOT BECAUSE OF THE HURRICANE! YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GO WITH A GROUP OR ORGANIZATION, YOU DO NOT  NEED AN INVITATION OR APPROVED  APPLICATION. JUST GO FOR THE ANIMALS!”

Don’t bother checking this on Snopes, this is not an urban legend and it is not hyperbole. Sandy spent yesterday and today out in the field and reported back to me today. Yesterday, she and Wendy dropped food at designated neighborhood feeding stations that they are hoping will sustain the animals that are loose on the streets. Today, Sandy and Jill broke into 27 homes that were known to contain animals based on the requests from the owners, some of the reports as old as three weeks. From those 27 homes, they rescued 8 or 9 animals – I think she said 8 dogs and a duck. I’m not going to expand on the details of what she found in the rest of the homes, I’ll just say that this is hard work in every way and definitely not for everyone.

Based on what she saw today, Sandy has extended her stay for at least another day or two, and has called several of her contacts in the animal control world to personally appeal to them. At this point, we are trying to get two ACOs from San Francisco down there in the next day or two, and we’re also working on a couple of people from the Northwest. Time is of the essence – it’s been a month since the storm hit.

Financial update: At the moment, our biggest need is for airline miles. HSUS is paying for some volunteers to come down, but the process is cumbersome and not at all certain. Some of you have expressed an interest in contributing additional money, and I’m holding off until I get an answer from one of the charitable non-profits we’re hoping will handle the funds. If you don’t care whether or not your contribution is tax-deductible, let me know – you can either send a check or use Paypal.

Next up: Lamar-Dixon Chronicles #10, #11: Gearing Up for a Shift Change

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