Rescuer Credits Katrina for Better Hurricane Preparation, Evacuation

Many horses in Texas and Louisiana emerged from Hurricane Ike unscathed due, in part, to their owners' memories of Hurricane Katrina three years ago, said large animal rescue specialist Tomas Gimenez, Dr.Med.Vet.

"People relocated their horses a week before Hurricane Ike arrived," said Gimenez, founder and instructor for Technical Large Emergency Animal Rescue, a South Carolina-based organization that teaches large animal rescue techniques to veterinarians and emergency first responders worldwide (read more about their work). "If it hadn't been for Katrina, or if Katrina hadn't happened so recently, people wouldn't have been prepared for Ike."

According to Gimenz, Hurricane Katrina taught Gulf Coast horse owners to respect hurricanes' destructive power. As a result, many have adopted storm preparedness plans that include advance emergency accommodations for their horses and handy access to health documents required to move them across state lines.

In Texas, where Gimenez was presenting a large animal rescue clinic the weekend Ike made landfall there, veterinarians and state animal rescue teams also networked with owners to identify safe sites for horses.

"Because of Katrina, most people did a good job responding to this storm," he said. "People in Texas and Louisiana got their act together."

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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