Highlights from the LSU SVM and LSART Katrina Commemorative Animal Responder Boot Camp in August 2015

Eight-day boot camp training included best practice courses on disaster assessment, slack-water rescue, animal handling, pet first aid and more.

The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine and the Louisiana State Animal Response Team (LSART), co-hosted the eight-day Katrina Commemorative Animal Responder Boot Camp, August 22-29, 2015, at the Lamar Dixon Exposition Center in Gonzales, La. The Boot Camp training included best practice courses on disaster assessment, slack-water rescue, animal handling, pet first aid, large and small animal sheltering, large animal rescue, wildland fire interface, and animal decontamination.

 

In 2005, when more than 400,000 people were displaced during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, about 44 percent of those who refused to evacuate did so because many rescuers centers did not allow evacuees to bring their animals. Approximately 250,000 dogs and cats were displaced or died because of this, along with a multitude of other small mammals, horses, fish and other animals that were left behind.

 

When the 2005 storm season sent a major wake-up call to the nation demanding improved human and animal response capacities, the LSU SVM team responded by partnering and combining resources with the Louisiana State Animal Response Team (LSART).   

 

For the training to be realistic, live dogs from Tangipahoa Parish Animal Control and horses and goats from the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine were used in the animal handling, animal decontamination and technical large animal rescue courses.

 

The LSART/LSU SVM partnership has trained more than 900 veterinary students, veterinarians, first responders and animal care personnel since 2005. The team dedicates themselves to being available to provide needed aid during a disaster, and continue to use these experiential opportunities as a teaching tool for present and future veterinarians and other animal care personnel. Hurricanes Ivan, Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Ike, Isaac, the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill, the Mississippi River flooding in 2011, and smaller scale rescues, including vehicular accidents and flood rescues, make up the list of responses since the group was formalized in 2005.

 

Attendees included representatives from federal, state, and local governments, the American Humane Association (AHA), the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Best Friends Animal Society, Code 3 Associates, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the Louisiana State Animal Response Team (LSART), the Louisiana State University (LSU) School of Veterinary Medicine, the LSU Ag Center, the National Animal Care and Control Association (NACA), and Red Rover.

 

For more information on animal disaster training in Louisiana, tips for pet owners or other LSU SVM efforts related to Hurricane Katrina, go to www.LSART.org or www.lsu.edu/vetmed/disaster_preparedness

 

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Katrina Commemorative Animal Responder Boot Camp in August, 2015