SSPD officer working to help rescue equines in Louisiana
|Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor|
Sept. 2, 2005 -- Louisiana’s residents aren’t the only ones getting a Texas-sized helping hand following Hurricane Katrina. A massive effort is being undertaken by Habitat for Horses/Lone Start Equine Rescue to provide relief for equines Louisiana residents were forced to leave behind while fleeing their homes.
A large number of those horses, mules and donkeys are now in danger of starvation, injury and death if relief efforts are not immediately taken. Estimates range from several hundred to several thousand horses that are lost, injured or in danger, according to Sulphur Springs Police Sgt. Kim Simpson, who is a member of the equine rescue group and is coordinating a drive locally to support the rescue effort.
Habitat for Horses/Lone Star Equine Rescue is a nonprofit organization with approximately 1,000 members who provide equine rescue services to law enforcement agencies throughout Texas, an active adoption program and equine education center and equine-assisted services to youth and adults.
A number of these volunteers from Texas and Oklahoma are slated to gather at a central staging area, then proceed from there to designated sites in Louisiana. From that point, trained rescue volunteers will proceed to any location where horses have been spotted and attempt to extricate and transport them to safety, where they will receive medical care from the Louisiana State Veterinary Office, according to Simpson.
Once the animals are rescued and safe, efforts will be made to contact the owners. If contact cannot be made the animals will be transported to another location for recovery.
The operation is an all-volunteer effort funded by donations from individuals, companies and organizations around the country. Help in the form or individuals experienced with equine and donations of money and supplies are still needed for the effort.
The most predominant needs are large quantities of hay and feed, medical supplies such as bandages and antiseptic, trailers, temporary equine fencing, tarps, buckets, new lead ropes and halters. Donations of supplies may be made by calling Rose Westover, emergency evacuation coordinator for Habitat for Horses/Lone Star Equine Rescue Inc., at 713-467-3444 or 713-5941177, or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
�I will be accepting donations for about a week, but our first trip to Louisiana may be as early as Saturday morning, Sept. 3,� Simpson said. �It would also be nice if they [donors] would give their names so we know where the items come from.�
Locally, Simpson will be accepting and picking up the following donated items: halters, lead ropes, dog collars, leashes, large and small pet carriers, food and water bowls, feed and water buckets, dog food, cat food, horse feed, bottles or jugs of water, fly spray, white towels and wash clothes, any bandage supplies, vet wrap, medical tape, wound medications, diapers, leather gloves of all sizes, rubber gloves of all sizes, rubber boots of all sizes, wire cutters, trash bags of all sizes, tarps, lightweight cattle panels, and scissors.
Simpson may be contacted at 903-348-1224 to pick up donations, or items may be dropped off at Sulphur Springs Police Department on South Davis Street.
Financial donations may also be made online at: http://www.lser.org/diasterrelief.htm or http://www.habitatforhorses.org/getinvovled/donatenow.html
Donations can also be mailed to Habitat for Horses/Lone Star Equine Rescue, P.O. Box 213, Hitchcock, TX 77563. For more information about HFH/LSER contact Jerry Finch, president, at 409-935-0277.