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Cat Protector
September 24th 05, 02:05 AM
Shelter Workers Stay With Animals As Hurricane Rita Heads Towards Texas

By Nohl Rosen

Cat Galaxy


Texas City, TX

With Hurricane Rita on its way to Texas and most of the areas in the path of
this storm already evacuated, one can only imagine what the animals go
through. One shelter, Whiskerville Animal Sanctuary in Texas City, TX knows
exactly what they might be feeling. In fact shelter workers are staying
behind at the facility to look after the ones in their care. Although one
sad fact of evacuations is they were seeing many people stop by the shelter
and asking workers there to take in their cats and other animals rather than
asking what they could to help.

Because the shelter was filled to capacity already, it was heartbreaking for
Wydell Dixon, the shelter manager to see people not only wishing to leave
their animals behind but also had to turn them (the people and their
animals) away because the shelter already had plenty of animals to care for
and space had run out.

"We gave them a carrier (for their animals) and sent them on their way,"
Dixon said.

Dixon stated that those evacuating and wanting to leave their animals behind
also seemed to be confrontational and upset at shelter workers because they
could not take their animals because they failed to understand that the
facility was already full. But Dixon stated that people should be aware that
animals are living creatures and that people should not leave them out of
evacuation plans and that they be considered in them.

"Their animals are a part of the family. They need to realize that, even
though a hurricane is on its way," she added.

Dixon also said that people actually left their animals behind at home as
well to fend for themselves. A horror that has become all too common when
natural disasters strike. The shelter workers at Whiskerville, besides Dixon
herself also stayed behind to care for the 300 cats and one prairie dog that
they had at the facility as well as wait the storm out. Whiskerville, a
no-kill facility also did not have the resources they needed to evacuate to
safer locations like some of the larger shelters do because they operate on
a very tight budget. The shelter did have 100 dogs at the facility but they
were able to find foster homes for all of them.

As Hurricane Rita threatens Texas City with high winds and heavy rain, the
shelter is calling out for its biggest need, two generators to keep the
power on if it indeed goes out. Dixon described the shelter's buildings as
pretty solid but it could end up flooded if they get 4 feet of water.

Dixon also stated that the shelter does have plenty of food, water, medicine
and other supplies to handle any eventuality but power could go out making
two generators their biggest need of all in order to get through the storm
and also make the animals more comfortable should the power go down.

As the city evacuated and is now under a 6pm curfew, Dixon and shelter
workers found themselves not only having to save there own animals but one
cat as well from Dixon's neighborhood that was also brought to the shelter.
Whiskerville also took in animal victims of Hurricane Katrina as well but
Dixon proudly stated that they were re-united with their human families.

Dixon added that the decision for her and other shelter workers to stay
behind with the animals was an easy decision but wants people to know that
it wasn't to be brave.

"We are not staying behind to be heroes. We are doing it for the animals. My
heart is with them," she said.

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