Greenhill Response To Holiday Farm Fire Informed By Lessons From Hurricane Katrina
In response to the Holiday Farm Fire, Greenhill Humane Society has been assisting evacuees with their pets. Lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 prepared Greenhill for these efforts.
Many people chose not to evacuate during Hurricane Katrina because they couldn’t take their pets with them. Executive Director Cary Lieberman, helped develop Lane County’s emergency plans to ensure animals are included.
“The goal was to set up a safety net for animals so that people felt comfortable leaving a dangerous situation with their pets,” said Lieberman. “It really has not been exercised at any scale, until now.”
Greenhill has housed over 100 pets for evacuees who could not keep them while sheltering. They also provided food and supplies. And are making regular trips into the fire zone to search for pets reported left behind.
According to Lieberman, if an animal was able to escape the fire, they are likely hiding out in green spaces with resources and will not come back until their homes seem familiar again. Because of this, neighbors will be key resources to reuniting pets with their families. Lieberman stressed, both people looking for pets and those seeing animals in damaged areas, should report this information to the County.
Lieberman says Greenhill is prepared to assist with long-term needs, which include helping pet owners struggling because of the pandemic.