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September 16, 2013

Helping Animals Weather the Rain and Political Storms

The HSUS responds to natural disasters and human-caused crises for animals – whether hurricanes, tornadoes, puppy mills or hoarding cases – to help dogs, cats, horses and other animals at risk. But our range of motion is wider than you may think, in terms of species diversity and geography. We’ve recently been in the field to help prairie dogs from the floods in Colorado and camels in Egypt.

The flooding this week in Colorado was eerily reminiscent of the early days of Katrina. Families stranded, communication shut off and homes and whole communities destroyed. One difference, as seen over and over on the news, was the welcome sight of pets, as well as people, being picked up – by pontoon boat, helicopter or canoe – and delivered to safety.

As of this morning, the disastrous flooding has resulted in seven human fatalities, hundreds unaccounted for, and nearly 12,000 residents evacuated across four counties. And on top of this, more than 1,500 homes have been destroyed and more than 17,000 damaged. Local agencies and groups have been working tirelessly around the clock to rescue, shelter and care for the thousands of displaced Coloradans, including their pets and farm animals.

Prairie dog rescue
Ghia Speakman/The HSUS

The HSUS’ Prairie Dog Coalition, with our team leader based in Boulder, Colo., was in the field in Boulder County over the weekend, saving prairie dogs who were trapped in flooded areas, many of them combatting hypothermia. In just one day, they had already rescued 45 prairie dogs from the freezing waters, and now have them recovering safe and warm – ready for a new home when conditions improve. Watch the video below to see our Prairie Dog Coalition in action.

We’re also half way around the world, for a particularly human-caused crisis – the political turmoil in Egypt. Because the ongoing political unrest has kept foreign visitors away for many months, horses, donkeys and camels who used to carry tourists around the pyramids are starving because with no money coming in, their owners can't afford to provide for them.

Now, Humane Society International and several other NGOs have stepped in to fund the efforts of the Egyptian Society of Animal Friends to offer relief.

In spite of violence in the streets and days of extreme heat, ESAF has been able to feed and offer veterinary attention to nearly 2,000 animals over a four-week period in the districts of Nazlet El-Semman and Kafr El Gabal.

Too often, animals are caught up as innocent victims when natural or human-caused disasters disrupt their lives and the lives of their caretakers. See our own Prairie Dog Coalition in action in the video below, and if you are able, donate to help save prairie dogs. Or, consider making a donation to HSI’s Disaster Fund to support the work we do for animals around the world.

Watch as prairie dogs are pulled from the floods:

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