Hurricane Katrina Remembered

Today marks the fourth anniversary of the horrible destruction caused by Hurricanes Rita and Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi. (For our cover story from 2005 read "Enduring Chaos".)

The Horse and were active participants in the coverage and animal relief efforts after the hurricanes struck the Gulf Coast.

Because of our relationship with the equine veterinarians who were called in immediately to assist in rescue efforts for all species of animals, our staff was among the first conacted for assistance.

Veterinarians and rescue workers found they faced two immediate problems: 1) there were no road signs left standing and no maps to direct them; and 2) they didn't know where the animals had been left when people were forced to evacuate for what they thought was just for a few hours.

The Horse staff sprang into action. Rand McNally, the map-making company, had a manufacturing plant in Kentucky (home base of The Horse), and we were able to put the front-line veterinarians in touch with the map-maker. It was arranged to get maps to a fire station north of the destruction zone via Fed Ex.

Once that problem was solved and first-responder veterinarians and rescuers then had the ability to get around the country, they needed to know where to put their efforts rather than just wandering around the destruction trying to find animals in need.

Dawn Garner, programmer for, over a holiday weekend, created a database that allowed anyone who had left an animal (large or small) to post the exact location and description of that animal. Rescue groups used this database to search for numerous animals, and the database was manned by The Horse staff 24/7 for weeks trying to update which animals had been sought to avoid duplication of efforts on the ground, which animals were found alive, and which were found dead.

You can read more articles associated with Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, some as recent as this year when Katrina survivor and amputeee Molly the pony was making visits to equine groups, under our 2005 Gulf Coast Hurricanes topic list.

Editor's note: The Hurricane Katrina database was again brought to use to help horses after sitting idle for a few years. Our current Adoption Services for Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds was based on that initial programming work done to save animals after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.


About the Author

Kimberly S. Brown

Kimberly S. Brown was the Publisher/Editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care from June 2008 to March 2010, and she served in various positions at Blood-Horse Publications since 1980.

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