TERREBONNE PARISH, La. — With all the damage and loss of homes in Hurricane Ida, people in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes are having trouble keeping their pets.
Families are struggling with the cost. Some feel the only option is to give them up for good.
Now, animal first responders are trying to keep up with the tremendous need.
When homes are destroyed, families are displaced and suffering from disasters, so are their four-legged family members. And the need is so great in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes right now, it brings veterinarian Dr. Lesa Staubus to tears.
“We do it for the animals and we do it for the community because we all hope that when things happen to us, someone cares and steps in. So that's why we're here,” said Dr. Lesa Staubus, a rescue veterinarian with American Humane.
Dr. Staubus is in Southeast Louisiana as a first responder, a rescue veterinarian with American Humane.
“We're caring for roughly 100 dogs at this moment, but that number is flexing up as they keep coming in from the field. We will continue to care for them until a full month has passed following the impact of the storm,” she added.
Big Sky Ranch in Folsom is also working every day to get grants and donations of pet food and supplies to bring to Hurricane Ida victims. So many are so destitute, they feel surrendering their pets to her non-profit group is their only chance for survival.
“There's still people struggling. There's people with no homes and they can't keep their pet, and even though they don't want to surrender it, they truly love it. They want it to have a good life.” said Dr. Catherine Wilbert, the CEO of Big Sky Ranch, Big Sky Cares clinic and CATNIP Foundation.
“They're just at their wit's end and heartbroken, and trying to do anything they can. There are people in need that are having trouble feeding, people that have colonies of cats out around their houses, you know lower-income communities and stuff, where they're just struggling to get food to these animals,” said Leslie Thomas, Big Sky Cares, Clinical Manager.
Dr. Wilbert said Big Sky Ranch is making deliveries by truckloads to the hardest-hit areas. Their goal is to help families keep their animals, so they are in desperate need of animal foster families. But for some, the only option is to send them to shelters out-of-state to be adopted.
“Those injured, indigent, unowned animals, who's going to pay for those? Who's going to take care of those, so the responsibility falls on us,” said Dr. Wilbert.
Gandhi once said the more helpless a creature is, the more entitled it is to protection. And it's these volunteers who are carrying that load to its fullest.
The volunteers are also helping with the veterinary care of the animals.
Click here if you'd like to volunteer or donate Big Sky Ranch.
You can also get information from their Facebook page.