Rescue groups mobilize to help pets in Haiti

Rescue groups are mobilizing to help animals orphaned by the massive earthquake in Haiti.

Long before the quake struck this impoverished nation struggled to feed its human population.

The country had no animal welfare agency assisting animals before the disaster, according to the Humane Society of the United States, which is working on a preliminary assesment of Haiti's animal care needs.

Nevertheless, some international animal welfare groups are trying to determine how they might help the animals that survived.

HSUS president Wayne Pacelle writes in his most recent blog entry:

Fortunately, one of our veterinary teams had been conducting a program at a veterinary school in the neighboring Dominican Republic when the quake struck. We are looking to determine if they can get into Haiti to conduct an on-the-ground assessment. We are also communicating with human relief agencies, and looking to cooperate with them. One difficulty is that there are no organized animal welfare groups anywhere in the country, and no animal shelters or veterinary schools. This lack of infrastructure will complicate any response.

In Defense of Animals said it too is awaiting word of the needs on the ground in the ravaged nation.

The situation in the Western hemisphere's poorest nation is daunting. We are actively assessing how we can assist both people and animals and are still establishing contacts in Haiti. We are in touch with other animal protection organizations to determine how we can best coordinate and maximize each other's efforts.

The group asks animal lovers if they would like to become involved in IDA's disaster relief efforts, to contact To contribute to HSUS's disaster response efforts click here.

Meanwhile, rescue dogs and their handlers are mobilizing to assist in the effort to find survivors under the rubble in Haiti. See below how New York City's finest, K-9s that is, are preparing for their journey and what their mission will be when they arrive.