Very productive day!

Things are really beginning to come together- and I am learning SO much. I’ve met neighbors I never knew I had (the problem with being slightly reclusive), cut thru incredible amounts of beaurocratic red tape to find out about grants and funding, and have met incredible people who are the volunteer effort behind this relief effort.

That said, we still have a few sticking points with Government agencies that aren’t responding like they should. One such agency would be our county D.A.R.T. (Disaster Animal Response Team), which on a National level is thru the HSUS (Humane Society of the US) and the USDA. This filters down to a state level, and I had called our State Director mid week last week, only to find our county D.A.R.T. had not been called to respond to the tornado. 2 days later, I received a call from the county D.A.R.T. co-director, a “horse woman” and high end equine farm real estate agent… She announced herself, asked for all my research and assessments on victims and then proceeded to tell me she had HAY! Well great I said- how do I get it to the victims? Her comment was “we’ll donate it to the neediest of victims, but everyone else has to pay $9.00/bale” – I almost choked- here is the disaster response team trying to make a profit on hay for tornado victims. GRRRRRR….

I sent her some info and asked if we could all meet after everything is all said and done to discuss what we need to do for the next disaster. She emailed me back, to let me know that the other co-director has gone in the field to talk with the victims and with: “Thank you. You have done good work. The system for animals in need has already been set up thru the State. It is call D.A.R.T. (Disaster Animal Response Team) Tony Fortner of Animal Control and I are Co-Directors in Williamson County.”

GRRRRR…

I wrote a comeback, never sent it, but have contacted the local news station which seems interested in this story. In the meantime, I’ve been contacting victims again- to find out better details of their situations- such as types of fencing needed, if hay is needed and what kind, etc. and NO ONE has been contacted by D.A.R.T. The really sad thing is that Tony Fortner lives in the effected area and knows many of the victims. The woman co-director is involved in the horse community and her real estate business is in this county… WHY they were not out on Wednesday Morning after the tornado helping the animals who were trapped in barns that fell on them, pull the trees off horses, move horses,cattle, goats and other animals that were in situations that could have been life threatening if they’d remained…

On another note, we’ve been able to get one cat safe, another one is almost on his way home. The first cat had been found after the tornado by a teacher up at the high school. The HS students took care of it for a while, and somehow one of them took it home for the weekend. I got a call on it on Saturday- it had been in a small cat carrier since Friday, and was very unhappy. And the “Mother” didn’t like it…
I went to pick it up, and when I got out of the car almost puked- I’ve never been in a YARD that stank of cat piss. It wreaked! There must have been 30 cats wandering around, the yard was trashed, there was a hatchet lying on the ground (I hate to think what that was for)- I knocked on the door and was handed the cat carrier. OF course it was unhappy- the poor cat wasn’t able to stand up and basically was lying in it’s own urine and feces. Hadn’t been allowed to eat either. I got the cat to Lisa, the lady on Coldwater who’s taking care of all the tornado victim animals. She put it in a small dog crate with a tiny cat pan and some food. I brought my XL dog crate on Sunday, and by that time the cat had been cleaned up, had used the kitty litter and had eaten some food & drank some water- it was no longer hissing at anyone who came near and instead was purring. We think the cat has a broken front leg, and possibly some face damage as it couldn’t eat dry food very well. Lisa was able to get a vet with animal control to look at it today- hopes it will be back here in a day or two…

the other cat is at Lisa’s and his mother may have a place to live temporarily. But she lost everything and couldn’t bring her cat home without a kitty litter box… Well, it so happened that a total stranger had walked up to me on Saturday, asked me who I was and then asked if I was the woman trying to help the animals who are tornado victims. I said I was, and she looked at me with big eyes and said “it’s all I can spare”, palmed me some money and walked away. Gosh- she palmed me a $20 bill – I was so touched. So when I heard about this cat and how his mom wanted to take him home… well, I went to PetsMart and found that they were having a disco sale (discontinued items)… which included cat litter boxes for 95 cents a piece, nice ceramic cat food/water bowls for $1.50 each, litter scoops, and a nice cat bed… so with the “extra” money, I bought a bag of litter for this woman, so she’s set to go! I brought it over to Lisa’s this afternoon and Carol showed up and nearly burst into tears when I gave it to her. She was so concerned I’d spent my own money, but I let her know about this kind stranger- and how at least one 4 legged tornado victim would soon be reunited with his family. Life is good…

Other victories today include:
UAN (United Animal Nations) has announced a grant for tornado victims
Merck has a disaster relief program which they’re using right now for Vets treating Tornado victims- it covers meds and supplies
American Veterinary Medical Association has a grant for Vets who treat tornado victims
Farm Aid has offered help on a case by case basis
United Way has set up the farm & animal fund and is issuing vouchers of up to $200 each – and the 3 farm supply places in Fairview are accepting them. These vouchers can be used for fencing, feed, or any other animal supplies… Vouchers are also issued for food, clothing, and household supplies.
We may have a trailer load of hay, round bales for cattle, coming in soon- we need to help pay for shipping and hope the United Way animal/farm fund will be able to help there.
We received a donation from PetsMart, which I will go pick up on Thursday (I think), and includes dog houses, cat litter, dog kennels, crates, etc.
Science Diet has donated 40 bags of dog food and 40 bags of cat food.

I’ve contacted AQHA as at least one of their members has been effected by the tornado. They were amazed (that I got thru I think!) and are going to look into aid.

Still trying to get to PRCA. Their website is AWFUL! I can’t click on the “committee” button and then get my cursor to the area where it says “contact”… yeesh!

So you can see, we’re just rock and rollin’ here… (and DART thinks they’re gonna come in and help, LOL! We got it going!)

Hugs to y’all- Vivi

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5 Responses to “Very productive day!”

  1. missy buell Says:

    Hey Vivi:
    thanks for sending the e-mail where I got this link. I have been wondering how you all were doing and if you had been hit. Bo’s dad has moved to florida – he left 2 weeks befor these storms, so we have not news from central Tenessee. I am glad that you all did not suffer much. You are amazing in your energy and purpose. Rock on sisiter.

  2. LaDonna Says:

    I would like to donate a roll of hay and a few bales of hay as well as a couple bags of horse, dog and cat food. I live in Millington TN just outside of Memphis. Let me know if someone can meet me half way or I can try to make arrangements to bring it to ya’ll.
    LaDonna Jones
    ladlabx@aol.com

  3. Terese Eby Says:

    Hi,
    I overnight board horses in the center of Oklahoma and I will make room out in my pasture for 3 horses for a duration of 5 months. Do not worry about feed I will take that responsibility on myself. We are retired and can not do more than that but I live in a community of horse properties and know several homes that would take a couple each so perhaps we can place as many as 9 right here in one spot. You can contact me at Bridle Ridge Farm, Terese Eby 405-324-4018 or 405-664-8003. Please make sure they all have shots and coggins as I have two quarter horses myself. Thanks, Terese

  4. Terese Eby Says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how wonderful horse people are! These stories are heart rendering and thanks for sharing. God Bless All. Terese

  5. Marian Says:

    Hi,
    My name is Marian Robinson from Golden Valley, Mn. I was wondering what was happening down in Tennessee and other areas affected by the storms until I got the email from the Horse Magazine and saw your article. I’m captain of our Mn. Horse Council Disaster Response Team for 10 years now. We got started in 1997 during the Grand Forks flood of the century. We work with mostly donated hay and feed but when that runs out our Horse Council comes up with a truck load. The list of folks we have helped in large over the years.
    You are such a great person to be doing all this for your neighbors. When I read about the DART folks in your county I almost laughed…..government agencies are like that. I’m secretary of our MnVOAD group and sometimes I wonder if we are doing any good….but then most of them are human services like Salvation Army, Red Cross, etc. Our horse group is the only large animal group in MnVOAD. I’m also a member of ADC….animal disaster coalition…again mostly for pets and we are the only equine group so we arer constantly having to prove ourselves.
    Marian

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