Rescuers evacuating human, animal flood victims with 'no pets left behind' mindset
After observing the emotional trauma people endured during Hurricane Katrina when they were forced to abandon their pets, rescuers at the scene of intense flooding in Boulder, Colo., and surrounding areas are focused on keeping pets and humans together.
According to ABC news, National Guard rescue crews are taking on the challenging evacuation and rescue mission with the mindset of "no pets left behind" because it is easier to persuade residents to leave if they can bring their beloved pets with them.
"After (Hurricane) Katrina, FEMA and first responders realized that people are more hesitant to leave if they can't take their pets. So if a person is going to leave only with their dog, we're going to take that pet, whether it's a dog or chicken or goat," National Coast Guard Sgt. Nick Cornelius told ABC News.
Rescuers so far have followed through with their vow to evacuate animals of all shapes and sizes, ABC News reported. According to the news station, rescue teams have evacuated more than 900 family pets over the past week, including cats, dogs, chickens, goats, and even a tank of fish. They have also been busy providing safe transport for local livestock including horses, bulls, cows, and pigs.
The Denver Post reported that while National Guard members, firefighters, and other rescuers are escorting pets and livestock away from the dangerous flooding conditions, volunteers from the Red Cross and local shelters are making sure the animals are properly housed and fed.
The collaborative effort to evacuate families and pets together has been one bright spot for people who are facing the difficult situation of leave their homes behind, said Skye Robinson, a spokesperson for the National Guard air search and rescue operation.
"It just makes sense that you bring the pets along. They are part of the family," Robinson told the Associated Press. "You wouldn't leave a family behind because they had kids."
How you can help
Several local organizations focused on helping providing shelter for displaced pets as well as offering food and supplies to evacuated owners during the floods are accepting donations. They include:
- Longmont Humane Society
- Humane Society of Boulder Valley
- Larimer Humane Society
- PetAid Disaster Services
Share your stories
Were you affected by the flooding, or have you been involved with the rescue efforts? Feel free to share your story or let readers know about resources available to flood victims in the comments section below.