A horse sways side to side in a small canoe with four pool noodles strapped to his belly. As the watercraft travels past submerged trees and telephone poles, an animal rescuer holds a pail of water in his lap so the animal can drink.
This video, posted on the Tri-State County Animal Response Team’s Facebook page, illustrates a rescue from the flooding in Louisiana, which has recently been determined the worst natural disaster the U.S. has seen since Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast in 2012.
Now, a team of local volunteers from the Tri-State County Animal Response Team will head out to these flood waters Sunday to rescue trapped animals in the hopes of reuniting them with their owners.
Bonnie Morrison, executive director of Tri-State County Animal Response Team, is no stranger to working in high waters.
Morrison founded the organization after she helped rescue animals from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Tri-State County Animal Response Team has 58 volunteers and serves 31 counties in Greater Cincinnati.
From natural disasters to to hoarding investigations, Morrison said the organization works with emergency management agencies to ensure the safety of animals.
'We have helped with several hoarding cases, we have been called out by Clermont County Emergency manager just recently for the floods down here in New Richmond."
She said there is plenty of work to be done in the waters of Louisiana.
“There are a lot of animals -- there are a lot of farm animals still swimming, there are a lot of cats and dogs still hiding, a lot of the animals that were chained may not have any recourse but to have passed on,” Morrison said. “We don't know until we get there.”
Morrison, along with seven volunteers will spend 10-12 days in boats performing searches and rescues.
“We have boats, we have catch equipment, we have traps,” Morrison said. “We have all the equipment to bring the animals to safety.”
The organization will set up a temporary animal shelter until they are reunited with their owners.
“Inside the truck it's fully equipped,” Morrison said. “It's already got cages attached to the walls. It's got a medical unit, it's got a grooming unit, it's got a volunteer section. It's got feeding stations in there.”
She said reuniting pets with their owners could be a lengthy process.
“They will be scared,” Morrison said. “The owners might not even be recognized by that animal because it is so traumatized.”
If animals are left without an owner, Morrison said the volunteers will work with local animal shelters to find them a home.
Brother Wolf Animal Rescue is already on the scene assisting with search and rescue efforts.