One year after the disastrous floods that struck Louisiana and separated thousands of pets from their families, American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization and the first to serve animals in disasters, unveiled a giant 50-foot-long emergency rescue vehicle designed to provide help and hope to pets throughout Louisiana and the Southwestern United States in times of disasters.
Made possible through a remarkably generous donation from the Walmart Foundation as announced on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, the highly sophisticated rescue vehicle is the latest addition to the national American Humane Rescue program, which rescues and shelters animals in disasters and cruelty cases. The program began in 1916, rescuing and caring for 68,000 warhorses each month wounded on the battlefields of World War I, and has been part of every major disaster relief effort since, from Pearl Harbor to 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the Moore, Oklahoma tornado, Superstorm Sandy, and the Louisiana floods.
“This new rescue vehicle is a major investment in the families and animals of Louisiana,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane. “The newest member of our American Humane Rescue fleet is specifically designed and outfitted to provide a wide array of emergency services and will be staffed by four certified and specially trained responders, carrying supplies and equipment to shelter up to 100 animals. The vehicle will be dedicated to the region so it may respond to emergencies quickly in the entire area. This strengthening of our nation’s emergency operations is a gift to all those who live here, and we thank Ellen DeGeneres and the Walmart Foundation for this major resource to help the most vulnerable in times of need.”
In the wake of the 2016 Louisiana floods, American Humane rushed its rescue team, a veterinarian, and 60,000 pounds of equipment to Louisiana to assist hard-hit Livingston Parish, where 75 percent of the homes were reported to be destroyed. In addition, American Humane worked with Chicken Soup for the Soul to deliver 80,000 pounds of free food for the lost, frightened and hungry animals who have been displaced by the devastating flooding. Since then, American Humane has held four major emergency service trainings and has been providing hundreds of thousands of dollars in lifesaving support, training, and grants to help in the recovery of local Louisiana shelters that have done the most for area animals in the wake of the disaster, including St. Landry Parish Animal Control, City of Walker Animal Control, Dog People of Livingston, CATNIP Foundation at Big Sky Ranch, Companion Animal Rescue of Ascension, and the Companion Animal Rescue of Ascension. The team also spayed and neutered more than 1,200 local animals this year.
As its unveiled its new rescue truck at the East Baton Rouge Parish Animal Control and Rescue Center, American Humane delivered a major grant to the Purrs of Hope shelter – part of an effort to help the local animal shelters that did so much to help animals following last year’s deadly floods.
“American Humane has worked to help the animals of Louisiana many times,” said Dr. Ganzert. “Our deployment following Hurricane Katrina was the largest in our 140-year history and over the years we have continued to provide hope, help and healing to the animals here. We are pleased to be able to take a step toward better protecting the most vulnerable and keeping more four-legged family members safer during the next disaster.”