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Off Leash: Showers and Pet Food and Crates, Oh My!

After volunteers almost passed out from unloading truckloads of endless supplies, some disaster responders were so inundated that they faced the enviable task of saying to donors, “Stop being so generous—we’re overwhelmed with support!”
What does it take to feed, shelter, and treat 8,000 traumatized, hungry, and exhausted animals? What does it take to meet the basic needs of thousands of on-site volunteers? What does it take to run databases, assist rescuers, house horses, help pet owners, and secure the grounds from troublemakers?

To be honest, we can’t yet make a comprehensive list of the supplies and equipment that powered the tent cities set up in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and Gonzales, Louisiana, after Hurricane Katrina. While The HSUS continues to sort through papers, bills, and receipts, more requests for reimbursement keep trickling in. And so many good Samaritans and local organizations showed up with much needed supplies (including, randomly, hundreds of pairs of women’s thong underwear) that it would be impossible to really tally the true volume of goods that passed through these two facilities in a few short weeks. But here’s a partial list of items The HSUS rented, borrowed, bought, or begged for to operate the emergency shelters and fuel the field rescues.

  • 7,175 breakfasts for staff and volunteers
  • 14,215 lunches and dinners
  • 491 cases of bottled water
  • 186 cases of Gatorade; 236 cases of sodas
  • 7,175 individual juices
  • Hundreds of mixed boxes of peanut butter, jelly, bread loaves, crackers, brownies, breakfast/nutrition bars, Pop Tarts, potato and corn chips, cookies, apples, and oranges
  • Hundreds of pairs of flip-flops
  • Thousands of pounds of cat and dog food
  • Thousands of doses of bordetella, parvo/distemper, and feline combination vaccines
  • Hundreds of leashes, collars, and bowls for food and water
  • 1,000 Kongs
  • 50-plus catchpoles
  • 8 refrigerated trucks for comfortable animal transport
  • Several dozen cat and dog traps
  • Thousands of wire crates and cages
  • 400-plus maps of the city of New Orleans
  • Hundreds of airline crates
  • Dozens of tents and scores of sleeping bags
  • 2 20-cubic-foot chest freezers (for storing veterinary supplies)
  • 2 motor homes used as sleeping quarters and meeting space for on-site staff and volunteers
  • 5,000 lasagna pans to hold food and water for feeding stations around the city
  • Chalk for marking cars headed into New Orleans
  • Batteries for flashlights and microchip scanners
  • Tables and chairs for volunteers working at check-in and export
  • 5 trailers for transporting animals and supplies
  • 14 portable showers
  • 6 chemical toilets
  • 3 pickup trucks
  • 2 6-foot ladders
  • 15-plus ATVs/golf carts for moving around the enormous compounds
  • Several gas-powered generators
  • Thousands of feet of fencing to encircle unsecured parts of animal housing areas
  • Several hundred box fans of various sizes
  • Pens, paper, folders, manila envelopes, hanging file folders, laminator pockets, bulldog clips, dry erase markers, duct tape, several cases of Polaroid film, laptops, and printers
  • Several dozen satellite phones, radios, and Treos; several hundred Nextel phones for teams in the field and staff on-site


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