Humane Society Seeking Volunteers For Hurricane Season - - The News for South Mississippi

Humane Society Seeking Volunteers For Hurricane Season

They'll need more than food and water if another hurricane hits South Mississippi. The homeless animals at the Humane Society of South Mississippi will need someone to comfort them, clean up after them, and maybe even give them a ride out of town. That's why Humane Society officials are calling for help now instead of later.

"We're calling out to the community asking for people to step up and volunteer," says Volunteer Coordinator Raemona Welder. "We need them to work here, in the event of a category 1 through 3 hurricane, to stay here and assist with the animals. If it were a category 4 or 5, we would all evacuate. So we would also need volunteers to load up transports and drive transports."

Welder says they hope to recruit up to 25 local animal lovers to be on standby for that purpose through the end of hurricane season. She says the volunteers would receive training within the next month through the nationally recognized Disaster Animal Response Training program, or DART.  

"We're teaching people how to react in a disaster situation," says Welder. "How to properly respond to animals that are injured, how to, obviously, keep calm and work as a team and things like that. And it's a three day course, so there's a lot a detailed information put in there."

Welder says Hurricane Katrina exposed the short comings of their previous preparedness plans.

"Absolutely. We've learned a lot of lessons."

One of the most important was they can never have too many volunteers standing by to answer a call for help.    

The Disaster Animal Response Training program will be held August 25-28. Officials say 10 of the 25 volunteers they hope to recruit would also assist at the new pet friendly hurricane shelter at Harrison Central High School.

If you'd like to volunteer, call Volunteer Coordinator Raemona Welder at (228) 863-4394 ext. 115.

by Don Culpepper

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