Animal relief effort for Haiti gets more support
As images of Haiti continue to show the massive destruction and the death toll rises to staggering levels, various animal welfare groups are working together in an effort to bring relief to the devastating earthquake's animal victims.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals just announced on its website that it has joined the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti, a group created to address the needs of animals in the ravaged country, and has pledged an initial $25,000 to support the relief efforts.
“The ASPCA extends its full support to those organizations providing humanitarian relief in this ravaged island nation, and in the coming days, weeks and months, the animal victims of this disaster will also need aid,” wrote ASPCA President and Chief Executive Ed Sayres “The ASPCA believes that joining forces and collaborating among our organizations is the most effective way to respond to the devastation facing animals in Haiti.”
“The ASPCA will continue to make financial resources available to [Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti] as appropriate in order to provide food, water and medical care to livestock, domesticated animals and wildlife,” Sayres wrote. “Monitoring the animals’ needs has been and continues to be difficult due to dangerous conditions.”
Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti is headed by the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the World Society for the Protection of Animals. In addition to the ASPCA, the coalition also consists of a number of animal welfare groups including the American Humane Assn., Best Friends, the Humane Society of the United States, Kinship Circle and Humane Society International.
A team of animal responders is staging in the Dominican Republic awaiting access to Haiti in order to begin work. They plan to deploy a mobile clinic with vaccines, antibiotics, bandages, food and other supplies in anticipation of providing direct aid to animals.
ASPCA estimates 5 million livestock animals live in Haiti, mostly goats, in addition to a large population of stray dogs and various companion animals and native wildlife -- all affected by the earthquake.
“We certainly understand the current focus on human relief, and ARCH continues to monitor the situation,” Sayres wrote. “We hope that by addressing the needs of the animal victims of this disaster, ARCH will ultimately provide much-needed relief to the entire country of Haiti, humans and animals alike.”
The society has set up a website where visitors can donate funds to help support the coalition's work.
-- Gerrick D. Kennedy
Photo: People are seen scavenging and looting amid the ruins in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. Aid workers are struggling to bring in food and supplies. Credit: Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times