Vermilion Animal Aid
helping humans and their animals

Scroll to bottom of Page to view Rita The Aftermath--a video homage

Saturday, November 26, 2005

BACKGROUND by Joelle Rupert

Thank you for your concern about the situation in Vermilion Parish. Vermilion Animal Aid is a very small non-profit 501(c)(3) in a rural part of southern Louisiana. During “normal” times we investigate abuse cases, and are a sanctuary for all of the old unwanted pets. But these aren’t normal times. In the area we serve, what hurricane Katrina didn’t damage, Rita did.

The small animals are starting to emerge from their hiding places. The cats seem to have made it better than the dogs and livestock. We are feeding over 30 cats that have turned up in Pecan Island alone. We are feeding the dogs and cats while waiting to see if any of the owners are coming back, or at least until we can gain their trust. We are providing dog, cat, and other small animal food to local residents. We are also trying hard to get donations for the large animals. The need for livestock is overwhelming. There were over 10,000 head of cattle and several thousand horses affected. It is difficult to know how many have been sold at this time, due to continuing difficulty of communication. Some have been sold and some have died, but hay and feed are still the biggest needs they have. Some livestock are also injured, have hoof rot, or lung ailments. The small family farms are trying not to sell all of their cattle and other livestock, and are trying to hold on to them because this is all they know. Their owners in many cases are middle age or older and do not have any other form of income. In fact, many of the families have been ranchers for several generations. Their pasture is covered with salt from the surge. A lot of the people are living in tents and campers, many without electricity. They had well water, but salt water and oily sludge have overflowed the wells. The land is unfit to replant. Everything is either covered with goop or salt. There has been little rain so the salt just stays there. The rye grass can not be planted because of the salt, the hay that flooded is lost, the barns are lost, the fences are gone, many of their homes are destroyed or damaged. Many of the ranchers who have smaller herds cannot afford the feed because they are struggling to survive and provide for their families the bare necessities that are so often taken for granted.

Vermilion Animal Aid received a load of blankets, bleach, water and towels for the animals from Indianapolis Humane Society, but many of the people do not have any means of staying warm, many blankets and towels have gone to the human victims. The people we are helping are used to taking care of themselves and do not like asking for help, but who now have no choice. Some of the people in our area have seen no support at all since the storms, and have no prospect of seeing any. Imagine having to start over without your home or anything in it and you have a good idea of what they need. We know that they would be very appreciative of anything that is sent to them.

We received a donation of one load of hay that was 2 or 3 years old, and it was falling apart, but the people were thrilled to get it. Since then we received a 17 ton shipment from HSUS, for which we are grateful. Vermilion Animal Aid is working out of an 18 wheeler trailer that we are renting and the residents come up and ask for essentials for people as well as feed for pigs, chickens, goats, and horses. We have none of this food, but have told some to go to the feed store and charge a bag of feed to Vermilion Animal Aid. We’ll figure out how to pay for it later. The people we are helping are deeply thankful for any thing they receive.

Please help us to help the people in the outlying areas keep their remaining animals alive as well. We have had very little exposure of our needs on a national level and are extremely grateful for any help we receive.

Friday, November 25, 2005

FEMA on Rita and Vermilion Parish

National Situation Update: Sunday, September 25, 2005
Rita Batters Gulf Coast With High Winds and Water
"Rita roared ashore at 3:30 a.m. EDT Saturday morning, close to the Texas-Louisiana border as a Category 3 hurricane with top winds of 120 mph and warnings of up to 25 inches of rain. It knocked out power for more than 1 million customers, sparked fires across the hurricane zone and swamped Louisiana shoreline towns with a 15-foot storm surge that required daring boat and helicopter rescues of hundreds of people.

* * *

"Some of the worst flooding occurred along the Louisiana coast, where transformers exploded, roofs were torn off and trees uprooted by winds topping 100 mph. Floodwaters were 9 feet deep near the town of Abbeville; farther west in Cameron Parish, sheriff's deputies watched appliances and what appeared to be parts of homes swirling in the waters of the Intracoastal Waterway."

Joelle Rupert Critical in Rescue of Service Dog from New Orleans

the La-SPCA and ASPCA called on Joelle Rupert to assist in rescuing a stranded service dog.
See stories at Service Dog Rescued and Reunited, by Gloria Dauphin and ASPCA Story on Rescue of Molly, by Anita Kelso Edson

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Stranded cattle--remember, that water is brackish and toxic --salt content dehydrates the animals. Many animals were standing in water for days on end ... severe hoof problems result when animals left in water and mud. Posted by Picasa

Heroes wading through work -- these bayou cowboys lost their homes, tooPosted by Picasa

The salt water receded leaving Devastation--graze on what? trash? ruined hay? ruined pasture? Posted by Picasa

A farm under water Posted by Picasa

cows---even the "green" grass is salt ater damaged and can't be grazed. Cattle were found as far as seven miles inland from their ranches. It's been seven weeks since Rita and they are still coming out of the marshes. Some cattle have lung ailments now....need meds. Posted by Picasa

Devastated pasture---even grass that "appears" green can't be grazed due to salt water encroachment and need to ensure growth in coming years Posted by Picasa

Bayou cowboys--no shelter for them---their homes are gone Posted by Picasa

Flicka--stranded (sad, but the water was prettier than what was left after it receded) Posted by Picasa

Nice pasture, huh? This land is salt damaged due to encroachment of salt water--nothing will grow. Looks like Mars Posted by Picasa

More of the same---no feed, no grass, ruined earth, stranded dogs Posted by Picasa

Heroes--South Louisiana cowboy-style--working with no shelter for them as they lost their homes. This is high ground--pic taken more than a week after the storm. Cowboys had to use horses with severe inflammation but didn't have any banamine. Had to use the horses choice.  Posted by Picasa

Dogs left to forage on . . . Note the ground--no pasture remains Posted by Picasa

help Flicka and Friends--stranded in undrinkable water Posted by Picasa

Aerial view salt water encroachment Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 06, 2005

R I T A strikes blow after blow

Rita keeps striking blow after blow- - -
First,-- R I T A strikes:

From Erath: “Here's why Rita was so bad. She hit the Louisiana coast around high tide, so the water was already elevated when it was pushed as much as 30 miles inland. That surge caused the Vermilion River to overflow its banks, flooding towns like Abbeville, Perry, and Erath.

From Forked Island: “. . . even the dead have been disturbed, tombs lifted out of the ground. Cattle lie dead or dying. This herd has found a hill surrounded by miles of water too deep to cross and full of alligators looking for a meal, home after home, building after building, flooded.”

From Pecan Island: “What we find in the city of Pecan Island is true testimony to Rita's ferocity. This is what forecasters warn about when they describe a storm surge, the entire town devastated, homes picked up by water and slammed against trees, other houses simply dragged hundreds of feet several blocks. Those homes... have literally been picked up and moved miles.”

Rick Sanchez, CNN Correspondent reporting
To read the full transcript of Rich Sanchez' report, click here

From Grand Chenier: “Of the small town, only the water tower and part of the church remain. There is not a single house standing. The foundations bear mute witness to their existence, brick steps leading up to nothing.” Zachary Richard

Second, RITA left the people stranded without aid--
Hope came and went: “Father Bill…his smile was weary, his clerical collar undone (which I have never seen on a Catholic Priest) and he nodded telling me that the Red Cross and the National Guard were scheduled to pull out on Monday and that they had been feeding 800 people and that obviously, that support was going to go away. He told me that the water was laced with arsenic even before the storm although they had been successful at getting a filtration device in the past year... that device was now gone so the water was not potable. He told me that most of the cattle was missing and even if they weren't they was no land for them to graze and no money for people to buy feed. He said he was glad to see the America’s Second Harvest trucks but that what they had delivered would be gone in three days.” The Greater Boston Food Bank

Third, RITA left long-lasting devastation behind--
Starting over: “Mr. Ménard shows us his rice combines and tractors, $150,000 of farm machinery completely ruined. His crawfish ponds are dry, the earth scorched and crackled. . . . "At my age it will be hard to start over, it took all of my life to build up my farm, but what choice do I have?" His herd was relatively small, less than 50 head. He was able to save a dozen cattle but was forced to sell them at distressed prices not having enough hay to keep them alive.” Zachary Richard

The sea salt destruction: “The flooding in Vermilion Parish became something I could touch and feel today. You pick up a leaf, a twig, anything on the ground that was covered by more than 24 feet of water, and white powder flakes off. That powder is sea salt, other minerals, toxic sludge and who knows what else was in the water, and it dried on everything... Grass, rice fields, houses, fence posts, dead animals, everything. It's annoying, it looks like snow on farm fields, and it well and truly kills everything green it touches, perhaps for years. It will take huge amounts of rain to dilute the poison enough to let crops grow or to let cattle graze. With no crops and nothing to feed cattle, you don't make any money, and you go out of business. Unfortunately, usually a family business.” Al Henkel, NBC News Producer

The sugarcane crop: We had homes that were moved into the middle of cane fields. When the wave came in it brought marsh grass, reeds and all kinds of trash — trampolines, telephone poles, acetylene bottles, whatever could be carried from homes. Massive debris fields were left over 5,000 to 7,000 acres. If you look at it from overhead — and I flew over the area with the Minnesota National Guard three days after the storm — some fields were 50 percent covered with 3 feet of debris. It looked like a river of trash running through the cane acreage. Those fields won’t be harvestable this year. The Delta Farm Press

Friday, November 04, 2005


 Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Humanitarian Supplies

Please direct Humanitarian supplies and shipments to:
Glad Tidings Church
Pastor Emma Lou Winch
27520 West Hwy.82

Contact information:
Gerry Winch

Donna Winch

Humanitarian Supplies Needed:
Everything but clothes
Wal-mart and Lowes are reasonably close--gift cards would be very helpful for these people.
Order Wal-mart Gift Cards here
Order Lowe’s gift cards here
Bottled water
Linens--pillows, bedding, sheets, blankets
Small household appliances (coffee makers, microwaves, etc)
Pots, pans
Drinking glasses
Household tools (things we take for granted everyday)

Animal Medicinal and Other Supplies

Pet and animal medicine supplies
Vermilion Animal Aid
c/o Joelle Rupert
and Brenda Hebert
14312 W. Hwy 82
Abbeville, LA 70510
(337) 893-5008

You can email with "Animal Aid Donation Sent" in the subject line and indicate what is being sent in the body of the e-mail.

Animal Medicinal Supplies Needed:
Penicillin for livestock infections from barb wire
Encephalitis meds
West nile virus meds
Worm meds
Hoof rot med
Tetanus meds
Cotton rolls
20cc syringes

Other Pet Supplies Needed:
Outdoor kennels (dogloos would be helpful as the weather is getting colder)
Warm bedding
Pet carriers

Livestock Supplies

Address to ship livestock supplies:
Vermilion Animal Aid
c/o Brenda Hebert
14312 W. Hwy 82
Abbeville, LA 70510
(337) 893-5008

Livestock needs
HAY ! !
sack feed ..all types
vaccines ...ALL
wormers ! !
20cc syringes
Hay nets
Hoof Picks
Curry combs
Mane combs

Feed Stores with Vermilion Animal Aid accounts

Premier Farm and Ranch Supply
11307 LA Hwy 35
Kaplan, Louisiana 70548
(337) 643-8179

Thibodeaux's Feeds, Inc
2003 S. State Street
Abbeville, LA 70510
Main Phone: (337) 898-1829
Fax: (337) 898-6654

G&H Seed Co.
705 East 1st Street
Kaplan, Louisiana 70548
(337) 643-2108