GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - This week disaster response experts who led animal rescues during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina are returning to Louisiana to train emergency responders in the event of another disaster.
The week long boot camp will teach various aspects of animal disaster response such as water rescue, fire rescue, pet first aid, large animal rescue, animal sheltering and decontamination of animals exposed to flood waters, oil and other hazardous substances. Attendees will get hands-on practice in water rescue scenarios using animal mannequins, boats and other rescue equipment.
Disaster response experts who were instrumental to the Hurricane Katrina response will also speak about the progress that has been made in animal disaster response in the last 10 years and what pet owners can do to ensure their pet's safety in the event of another major storm.
According to the ASPCA, approximately 250,000 dogs and cats were either displaced or died as a result of the storm. Many pet owners were forced to leave their pets behind because many officials refused to let any animals, including service dogs, on evacuation buses or airlifts forcing families to leave their pets behind.
The ASPCA also says that 44% of the people who refused to evacuate during Hurricane Katrina didn't leave because they could not evacuate with their animals.
A national poll taken found that more than one-third of pet owners don't have a disaster plan in place for their pets.
The boot camp will be held this week at the Lamar-Dixon Expositional Center at 9039 South St. Landry Avenue in Gonzales, LA.