Update: Rescue and Recovery Amid Katrina's Devastation

Kewah Yee takes time out of giving himself a bath from an artesian spring tap on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2005, in Slidell, La., to give a stray puppy some water. Behind him is the framework of what once was a bar on the bayou. (AP Photo/Mari Darr Welch)

The HSUS's National Disaster Animal Response Teams (DART) in Jackson, Mississippi, and Texas are ready to move into the worst-hit regions to respond to the hundreds of pleas for help from pet owners affected by Hurricane Katrina.

More than 30 experienced HSUS rescue staff and volunteers trained in animal rescue are coordinating with state officials, federal agencies, and other organizations to start evacuating animals out of the most-affected areas. They'll also begin establishing pet-friendly shelters and delivering supplies, resources, and medical assistance.

The Louisiana SPCA evacuated all the animals from its shelter over the weekend according to its disaster response plan, which had been developed over the course of several tropical storms and hurricanes in past years. The shelter houses animals on the now-flooded Japonica Street in New Orleans. What You Can Do

Working with the Houston SPCA, rescuers saved an estimated 300 animals from the nightmarish conditions in post-hurricane New Orleans.

Reports about the toll to wildlife, captive wildlife, farm animals, and pets lost to the ravages of Katrina have been slow in coming. Six dolphins from a Gulfport aquarium, Marine Life Oceanarium, were first evacuated to hotel swimming pools and then later moved to facilities in Florida. The HSUS is investigating the deaths of at least three sea lions from the same facility who were featured on CNN and other news channels both Tuesday and Wednesday.

Hurricane Katrina is one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. Its effects will be felt for many months after the flood waters finally recede. The HSUS is committed to bringing relief to victims of this terrible tragedy. Our DARTs will be on the ground in the hardest-hit areas for as long as needed. Our thoughts are with those who are suffering and waiting for rescue.

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