SPCA poised to help canine hurricane victims

Dogs will receive medical care, be put up for adoption


Staff Writer

CHRIS KELLY staff Goldie Palama and Doug Ryan fled the devastation of Hurricane Katrina with their dogs Heavy D and Turkey Dog, who are being housed temporarily at the Monmouth County SPCA shelter in Eatontown.CHRIS KELLY staff Goldie Palama and Doug Ryan fled the devastation of Hurricane Katrina with their dogs Heavy D and Turkey Dog, who are being housed temporarily at the Monmouth County SPCA shelter in Eatontown. EATONTOWN –– In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, thousands of animals have been orphaned and the Monmouth County SPCA is poised to help these pets find new homes.

“All of these animals are in need of a home,” Ursula Goetz, executive director of the SPCA in Eatontown, said Friday.

“People’s homes in New Orleans have been destroyed, and we need to provide their animals with new homes. There are a few thousand animals that need to be rescued.”

The SPCA is making plans to house anywhere from 15 to 20 dogs at a time from the Hurricane Katrina disaster in its facility, which is already housing 250 cats and 65 dogs from the surrounding area.

“Since we are limited on space, we are only accepting dogs, and once we receive them we would like to get them adopted as quickly as one to four days,” Goetz said.

“Then we can send our van out to retrieve more dogs.”

She added that the SPCA is awaiting the go-ahead from the national organizations that are assisting with animal rescue at the site of the natural disaster.

“We expect to hear any day and our team is ready,” she said. “We put the van in the shop to make sure it will safely make the trip and we found a volunteer to drive.”

Two dogs evacuated from New Orleans with their owners are already being housed at the SPCA’s Wall Street shelter.

Just two weeks ago, the SPCA was visited by a couple who evacuated their New Orleans home with their two dogs and were told that the Monmouth County SPCA could help them.

Doug Ryan and Goldie Palama and their dogs Heavy-D and Turkey Dog were luckier than most New Orleans residents and safely made a trip to New Jersey where a relative offered to house them in Bradley Beach.

But Ryan and Palama needed to find a temporary residence for their dogs until they could move back to their Louisiana home.

“We were lucky,” Palama said. “They have been so nice and tested our dogs for worms and gave them their rabies shots.”

“We are very fortunate.” Ryan added.

The SPCA has agreed to board the two dogs until the couple can return with them to their home, but Goetz explained that the dogs they plan to receive on the rescue trips will be immediately put up for adoption.

The Humane Society of the United States, the American Humane Association, Best Friends ESPCA, Noah’s Wish and United Animal Nation are just a few of the national organizations that are on the scene in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama.

The rescue of the animals began on Sept. 3 and Goetz said the national organizations responded with mobile units equipped with emergency supplies.

Once the animals are rescued by volunteers for the national organizations, they are held for a minimum of five days, called a stray status, to give owners time to reclaim them, Goetz said.

The national rescue groups then call on organizations across the country that are willing to assist in the effort and house the orphaned pets.

“We will send a team of volunteers in our van and hopefully two other

vehicles as soon as we get the call,” Goetz said.

“Once we are able to bring the dogs here, we will check them out and vaccinate them to prepare them for adoption.”

It will cost the SPCA approximately $10 a day to house each of the orphaned pets, and Goetz said having 20 at a time will cost several thousand dollars.

To support the rescue efforts of the national groups, the SPCA is planning to donate $250 to each of the organizations and hopes the public will pitch in.

“We are hoping the community will be generous and supportive of the work we do here,” Goetz said.

The SPCA is a private nonprofit organization which does not receive financial support and survives on donations from the community.

To make a donation to the Monmouth County SPCA, contact Goetz at (732) 542-2030 or visit the shelter at 260 Wall St. in Eatontown.