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Veterinarians provide emergency animal relief
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Animals from family pets to commercial livestock herds and poultry flocks are important parts of life in the storm-ravaged areas of Mississippi.
A toll-free number has been set up by the Mississippi Board of Animal Health and staffed by Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine for calls about all animal-related issues. The number is (888) 722-3106.
"The toll-free number is for both individual pet and horse owners as well as those involved in livestock and poultry production," said Dr. Stanley Robertson. "Calls are routed to the appropriate person or location."
CVM faculty and staff volunteers also are part of the State Veterinarian's Animal Response Team working with the national Veterinary Medical Assistance Team to assess needs in counties hardest hit by Katrina.
"MSU Extension Service agents and livestock specialists are helping us locate and assess the needs of poultry and livestock producers as we go from county to county in areas south of Hattiesburg," said Dr. Carla Huston, a CVM faculty member working in the national Veterinary Medical Assistance Team command post in Hattiesburg. "Supplies are available to help get producers through the crises, but we first have to know what is needed and where."
The needs are great in some areas.
"Jones County was one of the hardest hit inland counties," said county Extension director Charles Grantham in Laurel. "Our poultry, beef and dairy producers have taken a hard hit, and it will take a very long time for some to get their farms back in suitable working condition."
Donations of food and supplies for animals in storm-damaged areas are being accepted, but Robertson said the most urgent need is for monetary donations.
"The Mississippi Animal Disaster Relief Fund has been established by the Mississippi Veterinary Medical Association to support displaced animals and for food and other supplies for veterinarians working at the emergency animal shelters," he said. "Donations can be sent to the Mississippi Animal Disaster Relief Fund, 209 South Lafayette, Starkville, MS 39759."