New Orleans--A contingent of nine Ohio volunteers led by the Public Animal Welfare Society of Ohio went to suburban New Orleans on September 20 to rescue dogs and cats left behind by evacuees.
The volunteers included Amy Beichler, PAWS� executive director, and Dr. Lisa Hart of the Miles Road Emergency Room Clinic, an out lesbian veterinarian.
In addition to the presence of Beichler and Hart, the trip was made gayer by the support of the Cleveland Rainbow Wranglers, who donated water, food and other supplies to the effort, and the Nickel bar in Cleveland, which donated $500 raised to help underwrite the expense.
The team worked in the southern suburbs of New Orleans, an area open only to military, police and rescue personnel.
Operating under the auspices of the Humane Society of the U.S. with credentials signed by the New Orleans chief of police, the contingent was granted access to the area, where police and local residents told them of animals they knew of in distress.
Hart performed surgery in the field on at least one animal, and the group returned to Cleveland earlier than their expected departure date due to an evacuation for Hurricane Rita.
A total of 20 dogs and 12 cats were brought back to Cleveland, and are currently at Hart�s clinic in Bedford Heights. The animals will be kept there until October 15 to allow national organizations time to find the owners. After that, unclaimed dogs and cats will be spayed or neutered and put up for adoption.
�It was sad to go out there and see all the dogs and cats running around,� Hart said. �I�m glad we were able to go there and rescue some. I would do it all over again.�
Beichler noted that they have seen a drastic change in the behavior of the animals since being brought to Cleveland, especially since many of them were wary of humans when the rescuers approached.
�It�s wonderful to see how they respond back here to human contact,� she said.
For more information about the effort and the animals that were rescued or to donate for the treatment of animals, four of whom tested positive for heartworm, go to www.pawsohio.org or call 440-4427297.
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