Largest Quake of 2015 Strikes Chile: Pet Rescue Groups Respond

In Chile, 1 million people have been evacuated and at least five have been killed, reports Cathrine Shoichet and Rafeal Romo of CNN news. BBC News reports that “The quake lasted for more than three minutes, and there have been dozens of aftershocks. Gloria Navarro, who lives in the coastal town of La Serena, said people were 'running in all directions.'" Below, you can view video of the quake.

Posted by DAHBOO777.

What about the pets?
The effect this event will have on the pet population of Chile remains to be seen, but past disaters have shown us that people are not the only ones affected. After reaching out to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), and Humane Society International (HSI), I have learned that efforts are underway to see if any animal assistance is required in Chile. Jane Harrell, Our Site Editor-In-Chief, comments that, "Animal welfare impacts people and human health, too. For example, we saw during Katrina that many people refused to leave their pets behind. Also, sick and dying animals might impact human health in the region, so animal welfare response is an important part of any major disaster response."

Raul Arce-Contreras, of Humane Society Internal public relations, told me that while HSI is still working on a strategy to assist pets in Chile, “HSI always encourages pet parents to be prepared in advance of a national disaster like this.”

That’s great advice, and as September is National Disaster Preparedness Month, now is a great time to consider your level of preparedness. Check out these links to learn more:

  • September: Disaster Preparedness Month
  • 5 Things You Probably Don't Know About Disaster Preparedness for Pets
  • Disaster Preparedness for Pets

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Full Title Name: Rescue Me: Legislating Cooperation Between Animal Control Authorities and Rescue Organizations

Notwithstanding the overwhelming evidence that shows how important pets are to many people in the United States, the leading cause of death for dogs and cats in this country is euthanasia because of the lack of homes. Although progress has been made, conservative estimates are that between three and four million dogs and cats are euthanized each year. A successful program for implementing non-lethal strategies to control the pet population incorporates three prongs: (a) increasing adoptions, (b) increasing the number of animals sterilized and (c) increasing the number of animals retained in homes. This Article focuses on the legislative actions that should be taken immediately to implement these non-lethal strategies so that this needless euthanization can end.

Connecticut Law Review
July, 2007


Copyright (c) 2007 Connecticut Law Review Rebecca J. Huss (reprinted with permission)

HSUS rescuers wade through Texas floods to save, evacuate animals

Today, our teams are doing rescue and response in Dickinson and League City, both in Galveston County. We’ve already been to Corpus Christi and Texas City. Above, The HSUS Animal Rescue Team returns with two cats who were trapped inside a home. Photo by Anthony Rathbun/AP Images for The HSUS

During Hurricane Katrina, in 2005, it felt like The HSUS and other animal groups not only fought surging waters, rain, and wind, but we also had to fight some government agencies and key private agencies whose leaders just didn’t get it when it came to animal welfare. In the early stages of the response, some first responders had instructions not to take animals to safety, despite the pleadings of their caregivers. Human shelters, which filled up because of mandatory evacuation orders, excluded animals. That caused some people to refuse to leave their homes, because they wouldn’t abandon their best friends during a life-threatening crisis. The inattentiveness to the bond between animals and the people who care about them put everybody at risk, and it undermined and complicated the disaster response. It also meant that The HSUS and other animal protection groups had to mount the largest-ever pet rescue operation to find pets trapped in homes, especially in New Orleans, which would be shuttered to its residents for weeks because of the levee break and the massive flooding that followed.

We helped move animals from Corpus Christi in advance of the storm. We are now moving animals from San Antonio, Houston, and New Orleans to make room in shelters. Above, HSUS District Leader Nikki Prather loads dogs onto a plane for transport to San Antonio, Tuesday. Photo by Darren Abate/AP Images for The HSUS

A dozen years later, as we look upon the immense damage that Harvey has wrought in an area larger than the state of New Jersey – and with more than 14 trillion gallons of water swamping the region — it’s evident that there’s been a sea change in attitudes. The government and human-focused charities get it now, recognizing that for disaster response to work, they must take into account the animals and the human-animal bond. It’s the right thing to do for the animals, who shouldn’t drown or die from abandonment, thirst, or hunger. And it’s right for the people, who love their animals and consider them members of the family.

Now, as we turn on the television to get the latest images from the impacted area, we cheer for every high-water rescue. (Our team is on the ground, doing lifesaving work.) We are out to save our pets and horses, to help animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centers in the path of the storm, and to keep our communities whole. But we must also recognize the certainty of unseen tragedies. Drama often unfolds out of sight, and there is so much loss and suffering.

Today, our teams are doing rescue and response in Dickinson and League City, both in Galveston County. We’ve already been to Corpus Christi and Texas City.

The HSUS Animal Rescue Team delivers supplies to people with pets who were affected by the hurricane. Photo by Anthony Rathbun/AP Images for The HSUS

We are also doing transport. We helped move animals from Corpus Christi in advance of the storm hitting. We are also moving animals from San Antonio, Houston, and New Orleans in order to make room in shelters for victims of the storm and its aftermath. Working with San Antonio Animal Care Services, Wings of Rescue and, we flew 53 animals to St. Hubert’s Humane Society in New Jersey yesterday. Today we are sending about the same number of animals to partners in Washington state. Later this week, we will send animals to Oregon. In the days ahead, we’ll be transporting larger numbers of animals to Oklahoma and to Virginia.

Members of the HSUS Animal Rescue Team rescue a cat stranded inside a home. Photo by Anthony Rathbun/AP Images for The HSUS

The damage estimate for Harvey is $160 billion – which would make it the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, and equal to the combined total of Katrina and Sandy. The flooding has damaged so many homes, and that’s going to create a housing crisis for people. That means a similar crisis for animals.

All of that means we are focused both on short-term search-and-rescue needs and also on long-term needs of making the community whole again. Your generous support over the last few days has been extraordinary. We are especially grateful to the Alex & Elisabeth Lewyt Charitable Trust on Long Island, and to Doris Day and her Doris Day Animal Foundation for their generous support. If you’ve donated already, thank you. And if you can dig deeper to support this life-saving work, please donate to our Disaster Relief Fund so we can answer the call when disaster strikes, now and in the future.

Hurricane Katrina

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Hurricane Katrina, tropical cyclone that struck the southeastern United States in late August 2005. The hurricane and its aftermath claimed more than 1,800 lives, and it ranked as the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history.

What was Hurricane Katrina?

Hurricane Katrina was a tropical cyclone that struck the southeastern United States in late August 2005. The hurricane and its aftermath claimed more than 1,800 lives, and it ranked as the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history.

Who was Hurricane Katrina named after?

There is no particular person for whom Hurricane Katrina was named. Rather, the hurricane was named in accordance with the World Meteorological Organization’s lists of hurricane names, which rotate every six years. Following the historical damage inflicted by Hurricane Katrina, the name “Katrina” was retired from the lists of names.

What were Hurricane Katrina’s wind speeds?

When Hurricane Katrina first made landfall in Florida between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, it was a category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 70 miles per hour. By the time the storm strengthened to a category 3 hurricane, winds exceeded 115 miles per hour. At its height as a category 5 hurricane over the Gulf of Mexico, Katrina’s wind speeds exceeded 170 miles per hour.

Why did Hurricane Katrina lead to widespread flooding?

Hurricane Katrina led to widespread flooding in southeastern Louisiana when the levee system that held back the waters of Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Borgne was completely overwhelmed by 10 inches of rain and Katrina’s storm surge. Areas east of the Industrial Canal were the first to flood by August 30, 80 percent of New Orleans was underwater.

What was the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the New Orleans public education system?

Prior to Hurricane Katrina the public school system of New Orleans was one of the lowest-performing districts in the state of Louisiana. After Hurricane Katrina, which damaged more than 100 school buildings, the state seized control of almost all urban schools and turned them over to independent charter groups. New Orleans went from having a public school system to having a school system composed almost entirely of charter schools, most of them run by charter management organizations.

The storm that would later become Hurricane Katrina surfaced on August 23, 2005, as a tropical depression over the Bahamas, approximately 350 miles (560 km) east of Miami. Over the next two days the weather system gathered strength, earning the designation Tropical Storm Katrina, and it made landfall between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as a category 1 hurricane (a storm that, on the Saffir-Simpson scale, exhibits winds in the range of 74–95 miles per hour [119–154 km per hour]). Sustained winds of 70 miles per hour (115 km per hour) lashed the Florida peninsula, and rainfall totals of 5 inches (13 cm) were reported in some areas. The storm spent less than eight hours over land. It quickly intensified when it reached the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

On August 27 Katrina strengthened to a category 3 hurricane, with top winds exceeding 115 miles per hour (185 km per hour) and a circulation that covered virtually the entire Gulf of Mexico. By the following afternoon Katrina had become one of the most powerful Atlantic storms on record, with winds in excess of 170 miles per hour (275 km per hour). On the morning of August 29, the storm made landfall as a category 4 hurricane at Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, approximately 45 miles (70 km) southeast of New Orleans. It continued on a course to the northeast, crossing the Mississippi Sound and making a second landfall later that morning near the mouth of the Pearl River. A storm surge more than 26 feet (8 metres) high slammed into the coastal cities of Gulfport and Biloxi, Mississippi, devastating homes and resorts along the beachfront.

In New Orleans, where much of the greater metropolitan area is below sea level, federal officials initially believed that the city had “dodged the bullet.” While New Orleans had been spared a direct hit by the intense winds of the storm, the true threat was soon apparent. The levee system that held back the waters of Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Borgne had been completely overwhelmed by 10 inches (25 cm) of rain and Katrina’s storm surge. Areas east of the Industrial Canal were the first to flood by the afternoon of August 29, some 20 percent of the city was underwater.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin had ordered a mandatory evacuation of the city the previous day, and an estimated 1.2 million people left ahead of the storm. However, tens of thousands of residents could not or would not leave. They either remained in their homes or sought shelter at locations such as the New Orleans Convention Center or the Louisiana Superdome. As the already strained levee system continued to give way, the remaining residents of New Orleans were faced with a city that by August 30 was 80 percent underwater. Many local agencies found themselves unable to respond to the increasingly desperate situation, as their own headquarters and control centres were under 20 feet (6 metres) of water. With no relief in sight and in the absence of any organized effort to restore order, some neighbourhoods experienced substantial amounts of looting, and helicopters were used to rescue many people from rooftops in the flooded Ninth Ward.

On August 31 the first wave of evacuees arrived at the Red Cross shelter at the Houston Astrodome, some 350 miles (560 km) away from New Orleans, but tens of thousands remained in the city. By September 1 an estimated 30,000 people were seeking shelter under the damaged roof of the Superdome, and an additional 25,000 had gathered at the Convention Center. Shortages of food and potable water quickly became an issue, and daily temperatures reached 90 °F (32 °C). An absence of basic sanitation combined with the omnipresent bacteria-rich floodwaters to create a public health emergency.

Largest Quake of 2015 Strikes Chile: Pet Rescue Groups Respond - pets

The scope of the stray dog problem in many parts of the world is unimaginable by American standards. Street and village dogs have always been part of the developing world’s landscape, but exploding populations, increasing attacks on citizens,1 and spiraling rabies epidemics have transformed this issue from a third world problem to a global public health priority.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are more than 200 million stray dogs worldwide and that every year, 55,000 people die from rabies, while another 15 million receive post exposure treatment to avert the deadly disease. 95% of these cases occur in Asia and Africa, and 99% of the fatalities are caused by dogs.2

In Bali alone, the number of stray dogs is estimated at 500,000 and a rabies epidemic underway since 2008 has already killed 78 people. Despite culling somewhere between 120,000 and 200,000 dogs, and vaccinating an estimated 262,000 dogs, the epidemic rages on. In the face of the continuing epidemic and shortages of human anti-rabies vaccines, the government has banned dogs from the streets altogether -- perhaps the first at-large law imposed in this part of the world.3 4

The stray dog-driven rabies crisis in Bali is hardly unique: India culls as many as 100,000 strays at a time,5 while attacks by marauding packs of dogs in Baghdad have led to a reinstitution of the same eradication program that was operated under Saddam Hussein. Its goal: the culling of over one million stray dogs.6 7 8

In Bangkok9 and many other Asian and African locales,10 11 living with strays and rabies is just an accepted fact of life. An estimated 200 dogs per square kilometer occupy Bangkok, fouling sidewalks and streets, causing traffic accidents and serving as vectors for rabies and other diseases.12 A nip on the ankle by a stray dog in any of these developing countries quickly jolts Western tourists into the life and death reality of the situation.13

Thankfully the stray dog overpopulation crisis has earned the attention of Western humanitarians, animal welfare organizations and businesses, and they’re rallying to the cause. The World Health Organization is working aggressively, often partnering with Non Government Organizations (NGO’s), to assure that the production and distribution of rabies vaccines and post-exposure treatment keeps up with demand.

One of the most effective NGO’s working on the stray dog issue in the developing world is a group of veterinarians and volunteers called Veterinarians Without Borders.14 They can be found in many of the poorest countries of the world helping impoverished communities develop safe and healthy food supplies and eliminating some of the most dangerous diseases. Neutering and vaccinating stray dogs against rabies is an important part of their work today.

At the same time, animal shelters and dog rescue groups are springing up throughout Asia, Eurasia, the Middle East, parts of Latin America and the Caribbean. Some jurisdictions, notably Shanghai and Singapore15 have built pounds to hold strays, while in other locales, private citizens have formed humane societies and loose-knit groups of volunteers to care for rescued dogs.

These are all good signs. But when Western activists contemplate solutions for the stray dog crisis in the developing world, they need to keep in mind the differences between third world problems and the ones we’ve experienced here. Pet ownership is less common in developing countries third world strays are seldom dogs that simply wandered off an owner’s property. Instead, they are often semi-feral dogs living at the outskirts of human communities, eking out an existence by feeding on human garbage.

So vast are the differences between the developing world and the US today, one must reach back to images of American cities in the 1800’s for comparison: an age when horses were still the primary mode of transportation, when domestic animals of all species often ran free, and garbage collection hadn’t yet begun.

The eradication measures employed by third world countries -- poisoning and shooting strays -- spark sensational headlines and searing criticism in the West, but where people are still struggling to provide food and shelter for their families where canine rabies is an epidemic, and where there are shortages of rabies vaccine and post exposure treatment, animal control is still a matter of human survival. 16

Bringing the Problem Home

Starting with many of the same eradication measures currently being employed in third world countries, it took the US nearly a century and a half to get its surplus dog problem under control indeed, it has only been during the last 10 years that the demand for dogs has become equal to or greater than the supply in many parts of the country. In fact, what the US has today is a dog distribution problem, not a dog overpopulation problem -- a situation that has led to a practice labeled humane relocation.17

In some parts of the USA today, demand for dogs so far outstrips supply that the public -- bolstered by state-of-the-art advertising campaigns for rescued dogs -- are willing, even anxious, to adopt dogs with severe behavioral and medical problems. Where healthy, well-tempered, adoptable dogs were once euthanized by the millions for lack of shelter space, Americans today are lining up to pay large sums of money to adopt problem dogs ones that are blind, deaf, missing limbs or suffer from serious behavioral issues or chronic diseases. Organizations that began their work when there was still a serious surplus dog problem in the US are now bringing in dogs from any place they can find them and asking their kind-hearted donors to fund costly surgeries to correct heart defects and other problems so that the dogs they’ve rescued can be saved.18

Other groups import maimed dogs for adoption into the US from great distances, even foreign countries where street dogs are plentiful.19

A recent shipment of 222 dogs from Puerto Rico illustrates how multi-faceted, ill-conceived and widespread the practice of importing street dogs into mainland USA has become.20 Although dogs are regularly shipped into the Northeastern states from Puerto Rico, this particular shipment, arranged by the Puerto Rico Animal Welfare Society, was motivated by the opportunity to win a $100,000 grant. The ASPCA offered the prize to the organization with the largest adoption participation in an event called Second Chance for Love adopt-a-thon. The dogs involved in this venture were headed to one of the many participating pet supply stores that use rescue dogs as a loss leader to attract shoppers. After being airlifted to Florida for a layover, though, more than 100 of the dogs broke with parvovirus and distemper, 107 of them eventually dying. As it turned out, many of the dogs in the shipment were infested with hook worms, round worms and coccidia, and although the dogs were supposed to be 4 months old and healthy to participate in the contest, some were only 4 weeks old and shockingly, had already been altered. None of these dogs ever made it out of Florida. Instead, they remained there and received veterinary treatments valued at $185,000 and were adopted out through local shelters.

Canine strain rabies in indigenous US dogs was officially pronounced eradicated in 2006 by the Centers for Disease Control, but since then a number of rabid dogs have been imported, nearly all rescue dogs from countries with ongoing rabies epidemics. These dogs have come from a variety of locales including Puerto Rico, Thailand, India, and others described in official CDC publications.21

The rescue programs engaged in this practice have very appealing names that sound like they were created by advertising professionals, Operation Baghdad Pups for example. Perhaps the positive image confuses the issue and blunts the outrage these totally irresponsible practice should evoke. Indeed, this group has continued shipping dogs to the United States and following the shipment after issuing a press releases saying that they hope the rabid puppy doesn’t tarnish its image22

Pretending that rescuing dogs from developing countries with ongoing rabies epidemics is helping solve problems is not only short-sighted, it’s dangerous. At best it represents a shallow form of sentimentality, not true kindness. At worst, importing street dogs is a cynical form of old fashioned greed on the part of the organizations and businesses that are trading in them. Judging by their IRS 990 forms, the shelters importing these dogs are making a handsome profit on them, retaining their traditional image as shelters and marketing their product as unregulated pet stores.

To actually improve animal welfare, NAIA recommends that rescuers put their resources into developing low cost spay-neuter and vaccination programs at the source of the problems instead of rescuing and sending street dogs to the US. If advertisements on the websites of Puerto Rican rescue groups aren’t stretching the truth, they’re spending as much as $1,800 to rehabilitate one street dog, more money than the average Puerto Rican household makes in one month.23 There’s something wrong with this picture.

Additionally, one of the reasons that the import problem is mushrooming in the US is because our federal laws governing the import of dogs are out of date. NAIA continues to urge our lawmakers and administrators to strengthen these laws immediately.24 Otherwise a preventable tragedy will occur. The incubation period for rabies is variable and can be quite lengthy, and the laws and quarantine requirements are not sufficient to prevent exposure. With large numbers of imported dogs from rabies endemic areas entering the US pet trade, weak federal import laws, and state and local laws that specifically exempt the traffickers from regulation because they are supposed to be operating as humane shelters, the public Is vulnerable to this irresponsible activity.

Finally, it is sad that stray dogs ever have to be killed, but to attempt to apply American no-kill philosophy to parts of the world where dogs are suffering as well as threatening human life is unrealistic and harmful. We recommend to the reader, the words of Mahatma Ghandi on the subject:

“A roving dog without an owner is a danger to society and a swarm of them is a menace to its very existence. If we want to keep dogs in towns or villages in a decent manner no dog should be suffered to wander. There should be no stray dogs even as we have no stray cattle. But can we take individual charge of these roving dogs? Can we have a pinjrapole for them? If both these things are impossible then there seems to me no alternative except to kill them. it is an insult to the starving dog to throw a crumb at him. Roving dogs do not indicate compassion and civilization in society they betray instead the ignorance and lethargy of its members. that means we should keep them and treat them with respect as we do our companions and not allow them to roam about.” -- quoted from

Table 1: A short list of foreign organizations that export rescue dogs and US Shelters and Rescues

Humane Society of Broward County, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a shelter that accepts dogs for adoption from Puerto Rico

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