Kinship Circle
Brazil Floods & Mudslides
Field Notes & Photos
Buried under mud and boulders…
Kinship Circle, partnering with In Defense of Animals (IDA), is in Brazil for rescue, veterinary care, and emergency sheltering of animals. Thousands are stranded by flash floods and landslides considered the worst natural disaster in Brazil's history. Meet the animals and volunteers in a Teresopolis, Rio de Janeiro warehouse shelter.

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A pit bull Kinship Circle's Dennis rescued is weak, dehydrated and starved. After bathing the dog we know why: Bicheira, flesh-eating maggots infest wounds. The condition is rampant. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Flood-Mudslides 2011

Santa Rita rescues: Cats, bunnies, ducks, dogs… Most residents fled or died when mountains collapsed on this town. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil

One of the ducks we rescue from a deserted home in Santa Rita is so weak, we doubt she'll survive the night. But she seems to rally when bathed in an infant washtub. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Flood-Mudslides

A dog with bicheira (flesh-eating maggots), a condition rampant in animals injured in the disaster. We need funds to buy medication. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Flood-Mudslides

Teresopolis shelter manager Bebete Filipi never expected to see Rosie Mary again.

But after Rosie lost her guardian in the mudslides, she somehow found her way back to Bebete, who had adopted out the dog two years ago.

Kinship Circle team leader Bonnie Morrison cradles one of many sick puppies. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Flood-Mudslides

Bonnie's tee is a hammock for this pup. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Flood-Mudslides

Cheri and volunteer Michael James use a wheelbarrow to transport an unresponsive dog down a mountainside. We later learn his back was broken in the disaster. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Flood-Mudslides 2011

Cheri Deatsch and Sister Michael assist during exam. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Flood-Mudslides 2011

Throughout the dog's ordeal, a healthy German Shepherd stands watch. The two had lived together and the Shepherd is heartbroken. She won't leave her life-mate's side. The wounded dog is diagnosed with a broken vertebrae and he eventually dies. The German Shepherd is so sad, she barely eats. We do our best to help her heal from the loss. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Flood-Mudslides

This Rottweiler miraculously survived when buried alive with his elderly caregiver. But he died of a broken heart after losing his person. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Flood-Mudslides 2011

EstimAcao lead Dina relies on IDA-Kinship volunteers to "take care of the babies," over 50 pups with diarrhea. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Flood-Mudslides 2011

On average, one litter per day shows up at the disaster shelter. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Flood-Mudslides 2011

Cheri Deatsch checks on a pup with pneumonia, rescued from mudslides. Sadly, this poor dog survived the disaster itself, but later died from pneumonia. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Flood-Mudslides 2011

More kittens dropped off. Some belonged to people who lost means to care for them. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Flood-Mudslides 2011

Others use the disaster shelter as dumping site for unwanted animals. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Flood-Mudslides 2011

In Santa Rita, we find an obviously caregiven cat, disoriented in the middle of a road. The black and white kitty is stressed and easy to crate. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Flood-Mudslides 2011

The WSPA Brazil office has a University of Teresopolis veterinary team in the field. In photo, left to right: A WSPA team member, EstimAcao shelter director Bebete Filpi, and Kinship Circle Disaster Management Director Bonnie Morrison. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Flood-Mudslides 2011

EstimAcao's Dina, second in command at shelter, with Cheri Deatsch and Sister Micahel. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil

A man drops off a milk crate with a small grey terrier mix inside. The dog has testicular Bicheira. We extract hundreds of flesh-eating maggots, continually flushing a deep wound. He is dosed with Capstar. Vet drugs are always in short supply. Donations are needed!

Hundreds of flesh-eating maggots are extracted from wounded dogs. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Mudslides

Bebete (center back row) with IDA-Kinship volunteer Carlos Cabral (Kinship tee), Sister Michael, Dennis, and more EstimAcao volunteers. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil 2011

Bonnie and Cheri syringe-feed liquified food to frail puppies. Bonnie, Kinship Circle Disaster Management Director, cradles the very sick babies until they fall asleep. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Flood-Mudslides 2011

Kinship Circle's Dennis Pickesrgill rescued this pit bull in Teresopolis. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Flood-Mudslides 2011

There are many horses in Santa Rita. We know of 60 who drowned on a farm here. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Flood-Mudslides 2011

This puppy has mange. (c) Kinship Circle, (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Flood-Mudslides 2011

This dog's leg was wounded in mudslides that ravaged parts of Teresopolis. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Flood-Mudslides 2011

This dog recovers from spay surgery and removal of a mass. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Flood-Mudslides 2011

A German Shepherd is treated for bicheira, flesh-eating maggots that afflict many dogs wounded in flash floods and landslides. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Flood-Mudslides 2011

This very sick puppy, rescued in Teresopolis mudslides, goes to a veterinary office. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil 2011

Drawers double as beds in the overcrowded Teresopolis shelter where IDA-Kinship Circle works. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Flood-Mudslides 2011

A mom tends to her puppy, born prematurely and the only litter survivor. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Flood-Mudslides 2011

Animals hurt in mudslides contracted diseases, like this dog with bicheira (flesh-eating maggots) at the Teresopolis shelter. The condition is epidemic in hurt dogs. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Flood-Mudslides 2011

Many animals belonged to families who lost homes and cannot care for them. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil 2011

This dog's story has a happy ending. Saved from slides and treated for bicheira, this surivor finds a new adoptive family! (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Flood-Mudslides 2011

MARCH 5-10 2011
Relentless Rain Floods Parts Of The Shelter

KINSHIP CIRCLE-IDA TEAM: Bonnie Morrison, Traci Dawson, June Towler, Enrique Reyes DVM, Juan Pablo Gomez DVM, Georgia Zelada Corbalan DVM, Priscilla Rocha Yanai DVM, Priscilla Stone Mendonca DVM, Alessandra Nogueira Rinah Vogues DVM, Jan & Carlos Cabral

LOCATION: Teresopolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

► MORE VETERINARIANS JOIN TEAM IN TERESOPOLIS: Six volunteer veterinarians! LEFT TO RIGHT: Alessandra Nogueira Rinah Vogues DVM, Priscilla Rocha Yanai DVM, and Priscilla Stone Mendonca DVM are veterinary residents of Sao Paulo University. They've registered with our Disaster Animal Response Team. We can call upon their skills in future disasters.

In 2010, Kinship Circle assisted Socorro Animal Chile (SACH) in the aftermath of a mass Chilean earthquake and tsunami, traveling to tent camps and towns along Chile's ravaged coast. Now our Chilean colleagues help give Brazil animals a second chance! IN PHOTO ABOVE, LEFT TO RIGHT: Georgia Zelada Corbalan DVM, Enrique Reyes DVM, and Juan Pablo Gomez DVM (in back) reunite with Traci Dawson and June Towler (taking photo), both Canadian, for Brazil Team 3, led by IC Bonnie Morrison (right end). Photo (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Floods-Mudslides 2011

Juan Pablo organizes a treatment regimen to prevent four distemper dogs from spreading the deadly virus. Kinship Circle's June Towler lends Juan Pablo a hand. She also walks special-needs dogs, cleans kennels and helps with flood control. Relentless rain swamps part of the shelter, sometimes washing into a room during surgery. Five-gallon buckets under fill quickly. Pails are placed in dog kennels, but it's impossible to trap all the water. A flooded back room is sopped up with squeegies and buckets. Traci and June sweep water from a tarp ceiling, so tarps don't capsize and dump water on dogs below.

Georgia is all puppies, all day. IDA-Kinship Circle's Traci Dawson helps her treat puppies for parvovirus. Parvo is fatal without quick medical interventation. Two puppies have pneumonia and three puppies die today. We discover one mother's milk has dried up, but the shelter has no hot water for puppy formula. Bonnie returns to the hostel to boil water that she brings back to the shelter to formula feed these pups.

Brazil police drop off a tiny female terrier. A wound over half her front leg is infected with screw worms. Bicheira maggots have eaten tissue, exposing bone and ligaments. Vet Enrique, with Bonnie assisting, does surgery to extract over 300 flesh-eating maggots. The wound is flushed and disinfected.

dog_maggots Enrique stitches together the dog's skin to cover bone and ligaments. Antibiotics and a fluid injection are given. On a happier note, a policeman brings in a dog hit by a car. Damage to a front elbow-area ligament is treatable with anti-inflammatory. His injury is minor and the policeman even adopts him!

MANY DOGS HAVE BICHEIRA: This occurs when flies lay eggs inside a dog's wound. Maggots hatch that literally eat the flesh surrounding the wound. Numerous animals have disaster-related injuries. Rescuers fear bicheira, already common here, will spread. A HAPPY ENDING: The dog in photo above came in with the left side of his face mostly gone. It was presumed he would die, but he recovered with treatment and removal of one eye. Now he eats, wags his tail, and has been adopted by someone from Rio! Kinship's Cheri Deatsch holds him for a bath the day he departed for a new home. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil

"I Was Loved. I Had A Home"

KINSHIP CIRCLE-IDA TEAM: Bonnie Morrison, Jan and Carlos Cabral
LOCATION: Teresopolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

► BREAKING NEWS IN BRAZIL — MORE FLOODS AND SLIDES ON THE WAY? Relentless rain for over a week has drenched the already soggy shelter in Teresopolis, Brazil. Dirt layers atop granite mountains are saturated — the same state that made them collapse in mid-January. Mudslides resumed last evening (3/3/11), killing one person and tossing two homes off their foundations near the shelter. We await reports of injured or missing animals. Brazil residents brace for the worst, again.

A Rottweiler-pit bull mix is deserted outside the crisis shelter We don't know her guardian's story. House smashed? Death? No means to care for the dog? The orphan with the shiny coat and white teeth was obviously loved. Her eyes plead: "Why am I here? I want to go home." But home is now, in this dungeon-like warehouse amid hundreds more like her. Elsewhere, a kitten awaits a familiar voice.

Imagine your beloved dog, a child of routine who awakens to your voice. Or your cat, so much a part of your home she is its very soul.
Within days, all they've ever known goes blank. A month and a half after catastrophic floods and landslides crushed communities outside Rio de Janeiro, animals are despondent and scared. Former companions crave their old comfort zones. Today a confused black chow mix finds himself at the shelter's front gate. An old man walks away, his head lowered in despair. Like others, this dog will search for the man who walked away. He'll sniff each passing human…and hope each is The One who has come back for him.

► SOME GIVE UP. ESPECIALLY THE PUPPIES, whose fragile immune systems are no match for aggressive disease and stress. When Kinship's Bonnie Morrison arrives for her shelter shift, local boys look at her with sad eyes. They are burying one of her favorite pups from a healthy litter. Two more tiny bodies lay nearby. Bonnie fights tears. Brazil vet Jackeline Moraes Ribeiro says their distressed mother may have accidentally smothered the pups when she laid atop them. EstimAcao leader Dina DeMiranda Puccini Pereira believes frailty amid deplorable conditions may explain the deaths. Still, volunteers and staff are fueled by hope. EstimAcao director Bebete Filpi is excited about tomorrow's adoption of two older dogs. A Franciscan nun/monk order will take 15 dogs as soon as flooded roads reopen. Today, Bonnie presents a $2,000 gift from Kinship-IDA to help keep the disaster shelter in repair.

Pace Of Life And Death, Post-Disaster

KINSHIP CIRCLE-IDA TEAM: Cheri Deatsch, Bonnie Morrison
LOCATION: Teresopolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

► TOMORROW TELLS US WHO LIVES, WHO DIES. A month and a half post-disaster and the shelter hums at routine pace: Clean puppy room. Force-feed sick animals. Assist Brazil veterinarian Dr. Bruno with meds and treatment. A poodle-esque dog is admitted. His coat hangs in dreadlocks, even his ears. The fur on his back is a hardened shell. After grooming, a sweet, snowy white and close-shaven little dog returns. One of four sick puppies dies today. Oddly, he is the robust one who ate on his own this afternoon. Dr. Bruno tells us the puppy suddenly vomited and died. He pulls three other anorexic pups for observation. A non-responsive pup, given intravenous fluids, perks up right way. Tomorrow will show us who lives and who dies.

puppyroom An average 40-50 puppies with diarrhea occupy the puppy room on any day. Cheri and Bonnie care for them daily. EstimAcao lead Dina relies on us to "take care of the babies." (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil 2011

► SEARCH AND RESCUE IN CAMPO GRANDE: Flavia, a filmmaker, interviews Kinship's Bonnie Morrison and Cheri Deatsch for her documentary on Brazil animal disaster victims. Her crew joins us on search-rescue in Campo Grande — a nearly inaccessible neighborhood where recent rain turned dirt roads into muddy gulfs. We drive as far as possible and then set out by foot. The team then splits, with Bonnie and volunteer Savio at a gutted home and Flavia and Mao on the road. Cheri, Maria, and the film crew head into thick surrounding woods. Trees are littered with personal belongings. At one point we come to a steep drop-off. A former hill is entirely gone. Each remaining structure looks ready to tumble.

We rummage through a neighborhood where flash floods filled homes with mud, despite their elevation. We see the body of a Siberian Husky, still encased in the sand and mud. A roof is split in two. Flavia climbs under the fallen roof, then peers below a mud covered car. Two bright eyes gaze back. A small black dog is found! Wet food is offered, but the dog snaps in response. Cheri lays on her belly to scoot small bits toward the dog. We finally coax him out. Bonnie rescues a little brown dog who'd evaded earlier efforts.

Puppies, Cats And One Happy Little Bull

KINSHIP CIRCLE-IDA TEAM: Cheri Deatsch, Bonnie Morrison
LOCATION: Teresopolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

abandoneddog abandoneddog

► DEATH AND BIRTH UNDER A SINGLE ROOF: At mid-day a man drops off a Rottweiler-pit bull mix and leaves. The dog is incredibly sweet, with a shiny coat and white teeth. But she is bewildered and quickly grows grows despondent. She won't move or even lift her head. Like so many others, she is lost and sad. This dog gets lots of love from Kinship Circle's Bonnie Morrison and an EstimAcao volunteer (above left photo) and IDA-Kinship's Carlos Cabral and Cheri Deatsch (right photo). The shelter's cycle of life is in full force. A pregnant black lab begins labor and is rushed to a separate warehouse reserved for medical procedures. On the same day, a dog Bebete has nursed all week gives up her battle. She dies in the same building that puppies are born. Photos (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Floods-Mudslides 2011

Cheri and Bonnie deworm four other pups and are headed out when a large dog viciously attacks an elderly small dog. The little dog is left with a 3-inch neck laceration and puncture wounds. Blood spurts. The veterinarian has left. EstimAcao volunteer Raphael and a vet student apply pressure and decide they must stitch the wound closed themselves. Bonnie assists in the procedure, done without anesthesia because none on-hand are trained to administer it. The veterinarian returns just as surgery concludes. She says the wound is excellently stitched and gives the dog an antibiotic shot.

Saving The Life Of A Calf
Kinship Circle's Bonnie Morrison and Cheri Deatsch join a five-member WSPA team to search for horses in the districts of Imbui and Posse Teresopolis. As we ascend mountains into Campo Grande, car-sized boulders and trucks smashed into homes reflect the flash floods and mudslides that decimated all hillside structures here. We climb on foot and find three dogs amid the remains of a home marked for demolition.

savedcat savedcat

Meows lead us to a beautiful white-gray tabby living with the dogs. Locals confirm the cat's family evacuated without him. He eats food from a bowl in Bonnie's lap and is carried in a cotton tote down the mountain to our car. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Flood-Mudslides


On the drive back we spot a large-horned black bull and brown yearling. The young bull has a nasty neck wound, so we set out on foot to examine him. The bulls meander into the yard of a gutted, evacuated home. Bonnie and WSPA volunteers head behind them. Cheri (Kinship) and Carol (WSPA) move to the opposite side of the house to block exitways. The small backyard is enclosed in a vine-covered fence and the large bull looks none too happy to be cornered there. Cheri notes that perhaps it is not wise to trap an agitated bull in a confined space, but thankfully the animal retreats through the door of the house. Cheri runs to the front door as Bonnie trails both bulls. This move leads the large, healthy bull out the door so that Bonnie and Cheri can lasso the baby with slip leads and guide him to the front porch.

Bonnie holds the young bull's head as Cheri controls his hindquarters with leads. The wound is advanced Bicheira, with deep throat holes that swarm with flesh-eating maggots. After irrigating the wounds Luciana (WSPA) squeezes each sore, causing worms to emerge that she pulls out with a pair of forceps. Hundreds of worms are extracted from the little bull's neck. He struggles momentarily during two injections, but stands still as antibiotics, silver anti-fungal spray, and anti-larval spray are applied. Once treatment concludes, the little guy trots away looking distinctly happier. Photos (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil 2011


Sometimes They Die, And Rescuers Weep

KINSHIP CIRCLE-IDA TEAM: Cheri Deatsch, Bonnie Morrison
LOCATION: Teresopolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

► TWO INCREDIBLE SURVIVORS PASS AWAY. Kinship Circle Disaster Management Director Bonnie Morrison, with Cheri Deatsch on her second Brazil trip, arrive in Rio for the long drive to Teresopolis. Once there, shelter director Bebete Filpi, of Brazil NGO EstimAcao, is overjoyed to received donated medicines from Bonnie. But sadly, two dogs we'd grown to care about have died.

Death By Broken Heart
A Rottweiler-mix, 15, is at home with an old woman, the only caregiver he's known his entire life, when the mountain crashes down on them. Woman and dog are entombed in rocks and mud. Though he tries, he can't reach his beloved person. Days later, the dog is miraculously pulled out alive. Back at the emergency shelter, he never stops looking for his person.

The dog suffers from hip dysplasia and Bicheria, serious but treatable conditions. But his heart fails him. Medically, he has a heart condition. Emotionally, a broken heart takes his life. Kinship Circle's Cheri Deatsch says the Rottweiler never recovered from the death of his elderly caregiver. "He is lost and grumpy," she recalls during her first trip. "The dog connects with no one." (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Mudslides 2011

Carried Down A Mountainside

Photos (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Floods-Mudslides 2011
The other death began as a complex rescue on 2/11/11. Kinship's Cheri Deatsch, along with EstimAcao volunteer Raphael and Michael James, an American traveler who wanted to help in Teresopolis, responded to a tip about a dog scrawled on a paper scrap. Somehow Raphael located the outlying district, now just skeletal homes tangled in mud. During the rains, an adjacent river had spilled over the land.

We located Rose, who'd called about the dog, by hiking through downed trees and thick debris. We crossed a river on plywood sheets and rope that replaced a fallen bridge. Finally we found Rose, who led us to the dog.

The white male shepherd lay curled in a ball. He did not raise his head or notice our approach. When crouched around him, the dog growled and pitifully tried to snap at us. Caked in mud, the dog could not move. We had to transport him to the shelter, even though he'd already issued a bite warning if touched.

Raphael and Cheri cautiously looped a slip lead around the dog's muzzle. Rose and other locals offered two muddy sheets to use as a stretcher. We tried to hold the sheets at each end, but the dog mustered enough strength to wriggle away. So Michael carried the sheet-wrapped dog as Cheri supported his head for the half-mile trek to our parked car.

Michael held tight as we walked up steep hills and over the swaying makeshift bridge. At one point we tried to ferry the 50-pound dog in a wheelbarrow, but this upset him so much, Michael hoisted the animal back into his arms.

By the time we reached our vehicle, hard rain beat down like pebbles. At the shelter, a vet immediately administered fluids and vitamins, while trying to diagnose the dog's condition. Rose had a second dog in the early stages of bicheira (flesh-eating maggots) on her ear. This German Shepherd refused to leave the side of her sick companion (shown in photos below). The healthy dog tried to lay atop her sheet-wrapped friend before lifted from the ground. She trailed us to our car and came back with us to the shelter.

With her very ill friend on an exam table, the second dog sat sat beneath, refusing to budge. All night long, the two dogs' bodies touched. The German Shepherd stayed awake to protect the limp dog. Today, when Cheri asks about the wheat-colored shepherd, Bebete tells her the dog had suffered a broken vertebrae and has since died. His German Shepherd life-mate is so depressed she barely eats or drinks. Her eyes show heartbreak. We give her extra love and attention.

A Waystation For The Unwanted?

KINSHIP CIRCLE-IDA TEAM: Sister Michael, Dennis Pickersgill, Jan & Carlos Cabral
LOCATION: Teresopolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

► WITH WALL-TO-WALL ANIMALS, SHELTER MAKES ROOM FOR MORE. Kinship-IDA teams are first to arrive to clean and feed animals. Shelter manager Bebete Filpi and Kinship Circle's Sister Michael Marie administer antibiotic injections and Metronidazole (Flagyl) for chronic diarrhea. Another litter — five 8-week old pups — arrives in what seems to be a neverending stream. Bebete is furious when a man discards his 7-year-old German Shepherd, with him since a pup. He can't bring his dog into a new apartment. Still, she reasons, it's better than dumping the dog in the streets. Bebete knows that her disaster shelter could easily become a waystation for unwanted companion animals.

For one-on-one time, Dennis tends to a specific dog area daily. He dotes on the pit bull he rescued. Others fear the pittie, though the dog is sweet and mild-tempered. Photos (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil 2011

Until All Are Adopted? Bebete Doesn't Know

KINSHIP CIRCLE-IDA TEAM: Sister Michael Marie, Dennis Pickersgill
LOCATION: Teresopolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

► TEARS COME EASY AT THE DISASTER SHELTER IN TERESOPOLIS. Images from a tragedy: As happened in post-Katrina New Orleans, starving dogs eat homeless cats. Rescuers spot a muddy dog chain affixed to a post. The end of this chain disappears under hardened mud… By 9:00am, the heat bears down, especially inside the disaster shelter.

Kinship Circle's Sister Michael Marie, with local volunteer Stephanie, assists Teresopolis shelter manager Bebete Filipi on daily med rounds. Bebete goes through a 50 ml bottle of antibiotics daily!

At 11:30am, a mom of four pups goes into death throes. Volunteer vet Thereza Dantas pronounces the dog dead five minutes later. The diagnosis is eclampsia, "milk fever," fatal if not detected early. The shelter does not have enough volunteers to closely observe each dog. A pit bull mix Dennis helped rescue yesterday has mammary tumors that seep blood. A vet examines the dog and agrees to perform surgery if shelter director Bebete Filipi can furnish medicines. On a happy note, we observe many adoptions today. Bebete identifies each animal and logs adoptions. Adopters must agree to let EstimAcao do follow-up visits.

One dog presents neurologic symptoms that reflect the contagious virus Bebete calls "Cinomose." This poor doberman mix cannot hold his head steady. His head bobs and sways. Cataracts cloud his eyes, even though he is just over one-year old. He is hand fed soft food since he cannot eat on his own.

Today a middle-age woman leaves three dogs at the shelter. She bursts into tears and lingers with her dogs for a half hour before she departs, still crying. Her home destroyed, she has no means to care for her dogs. Bebete hopes the disaster shelter does not evolve into a dump site for unwanted animals. Puppy and kitten litters are left here. Bebete cannot turn any away. She'll stay here until all are adopted or fostered. Three, four months? Bebete shrugs. She doesn't know.

This dog is found severely dehydrated, too weak to raise his head. After hours of electrolyte enhanced IV fluids and antibiotic injection, he brightens considerbly. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Mudslides

From The Wreckage, Some Saved And Others Not

KINSHIP CIRCLE-IDA TEAM: Sister Michael Marie, Dennis Pickersgill, Carlos Cabral
LOCATION: Teresopolis & Santa Rita, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

► FINDING MORE ANIMALS IN THE RUINS: Today's search and rescue team includes Kinship Circle's Sister Michael Marie and Dennis Pickersgill, along with Tony Pires of Resgate de Animais (right photo) and Rosaly Bastos of SOS Felinos (left photo). Sister enlists 15-year-old Savio da Silva Santos, described as a "a great shelter helper with good animal sense." Rio volunteers Noah and his girlfriend come with us too.

By 1:00pm we're navigating dirt roads on the long mountain ascent to Santa Rita. Most residents fled or died in flash floods and landslides that leveled this community. We discover a dog in a destroyed home, but the frightened animal evades capture. We find a confused cat in the middle of a road. The black-white kitty is stressed and easy to crate. According to locals, four more kittens are hunkered down in an empty home up the road. We coax out an 8-week old calico, but his littermates have vanished.

TOP PHOTO: Tony Pires coaxes a disoriented bull from his steep perch in Santa Rita, with Dennis and Rosaly's help.

BOTTOM: We encounter this horse in the deserted city. After investigating, we learn that his guardians have just returned to care for him. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil

Disasters reveal poverty, social injustice and forgotten animals. Back in Teresopolis we're joined by Raphael, a military lieutenant who volunteers, for urban search and rescue. A friendly, but skeletal white German Shepherd is surrenderd, along with a 65-pound Pit Bull with mammary tumors from overbreeding. A young white poodle is stranded atop a hot metallic roof. Young Savio scrambles up to get the 10-pound pooch. Rosaly retrieves a white cat who may have feline leukemia. We scoop up a dazed Golden Retriever mix, just 12-weeks old, dodging traffic. Today's rescues are brought to the shelter at sunset. Inside, a puppy with chronic lung and skin conditions has died.

Where Humans Left Or Died, More Animals Are Found

KINSHIP CIRCLE-IDA TEAM: Sister Michael Marie, Carlos Cabral, Dennis Pickersgill
LOCATION: Teresopolis & Surrounding Countryside, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

► BUNNIES, CHICKENS, DUCKS, CATS AND MORE DOGS:: Team members Sister Michael Marie, Carlos Cabral and Dennis Pickersgill begin the day with baths and walks for hundreds of canine survivors at the Teresopolis shelter. Another 20-30 dogs left for "Adoption Day" in Rio de Janeiro yesterday. Today we learn they all have new humans to love! Veterinarians come and go, with two departing for Rio today. Kinship Circle urgently needs funds to sponsor several American vets in Brazil.

► MOUNTAINS FALL LIKE COOKIES OFF A BAKING SHEET: When the dirt layer atop granite mountains is soaked, the mountain collapses. Even dense jungle layers cannot hold it back. Flash floods caused mountains to crash down on Santa Rita, a village just beyond Teresopolis. Every human died or evacuated. Today we search for signs of life. We spot a black Cocker Spaniel mix who leads us to a house where occupants fled without their animals. Seven chickens and five rabbits are caged with no food or water. Two young ducks share quarters with the chickens. Three dogs roam and a finch-type songbird is caged indoors. We retrieve the animals and release the wild songbird. A neighbor tells us that the residents have returned just once. All animals are severely dehydrated and starving.

One of the ducks we rescue from an abandoned home in Santa Rita is so weak, we doubt she'll survive the night. But she seems to rally when bathed in an infant washtub. Back at the Teresopolis shelter, all the rabbits and ducks rescued from a vacated home in Santa Rita drink and eat voraciously. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil

Some Hearts Heal In The Arms Of New Caregivers

KINSHIP CIRCLE-IDA TEAM: Cheri Deatsch, Carlos Cabral, Sister Michael Marie, Dennis Pickersgill
LOCATION: Teresopolis & Surrounding Countryside, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

► BOB, ROSIE MARY AND MORE ANIMALS: Emergency shelter manager Bebete Filipi, two vets, EstimAcao volunteers, and our team get vitamin B injectibles to frail animals. At warehouse two, dogs with bicheira (flesh-eating maggots) are under treatment. A family brings in a 4-5 month old dog with a broken tail. A second pup is admitted with ticks and bicheira on her jaw. In the "maternity ward," a small terrier mothers her prematurely born pup. A large black dog tends to her four-puppy litter. Another dog looks ready to whelp any time. The landlord wants everyone out by month's end. No one knows where to go.

Bebete never expected to see Rosie Mary again. She'd adopted out the scraggly street dog with the broken femur two years ago. Yet here Rosie sits, goofy grin intact. Somehow, the dog found her way back to Bebete after her guardian perished in the avalanches. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Floods-Mudslides 2011

A Rio engineer, here to photograph animal relief efforts, spends most of his time with Rosie Mary. By day's end, he adopts Rosie. Bebete sends the pair off with vitamins, Flagyl and supplies. Rosie Mary looks pleased as punch, riding shotgun with her new best friend. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Floods-Mudslides 2011

Communities Vanish Under Waves Of Mud And Rubble

KINSHIP CIRCLE-IDA TEAM: Cheri Deatsch, Jan & Carlos Cabral, Sister Michael Marie, Dennis Pickersgill
LOCATION: Teresopolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

► ANIMALS FOUND WHERE HUMANS ARE GONE. Kinship Circle's Sister Michael, a vet tech, helps Bebete Filipi administer antibiotics, Metronidazole, antacids, anti-emetics, Capstar… Since mid-January, Bebete, with NGO EstimAcao, has found refuge for animals made homeless by floods and landslides. The shelter is full of animals with bloody diarrhea, dry cough, bicheira (flesh-eating maggots, "miiase" in Portugese), skin infections. IDA-Kinship's Dennis Pickersgill departs for search-rescue with Brazil volunteers Tony, Flavia and Marie. They look for animals at 10 mudslide sites in Teresopolis countryside where communities have vanished under mud and rubble. At least 500 people remain missing. Locals report a 25-pound mutt penned up at a damaged cantina. We locate the dog and bring him back to the shelter.

Brazilian morning show Mais Voce Rede Globo sends a television crew to interview Bebete and Kinship Circle-IDA team members Sister Michael Marie and Cheri Deatch. We hope the exposure prompts donations to fund veterinarians and supplies! (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil 2011

Hot, Dirty, Overcrowded. We Need Veterinarians Here!

KINSHIP CIRCLE-IDA TEAM: Cheri Deatsch, Jan & Carlos Cabral, Sister Michael Marie, Dennis Pickersgill
LOCATION: Teresopolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Teresopolis Cheri Deatsch, Dennis Pickersgill, Sister Michael Marie and Carlos Cabral work at Teresopolis shelter, where abandoned animals range from robust to critically wounded and diseased. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Floods-Mudslides 2011

► NOWHERE ELSE TO GO: About 200 dogs occupy the Teresopolis shelter run by NGO EstimAcao, under Bebete Filpi's leadership. Another 300 dogs, plus 400-500 cats, are at Bebete's property. We enter through a tarp-covered area. Dogs are chained to various posts, often so close together that skirmishes erupt in the oppressive heat. Every inch of space is occupied. Multiple dogs in cages. Dogs chained to slats outside of cages. Small anterooms branch off this main area. One houses unaltered females, another keeps puppies old enough to be weaned, one more contains nursing mothers and litters.

Animals Search For Guardians Killed Or Displaced

KINSHIP CIRCLE-IDA TEAM: Cheri Deatsch, Jan & Carlos Cabral
LOCATION: Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

NovaFriburgo Animals are confused and sad because their guardians were killed or displaced in mass mudslides. (c) Kinship Circle, Brazil Floods-Mudslides 2011

► THEIR EYES ASK, "WHERE ARE MY PEOPLE?" IDA-Kinship responders Cheri Deatsch and Jan and Carlos Cabral head to Nova Friburo. Sections of road are washed out, bridges still down. The team arrives at COOBEA — Coordenadoria de Bem-Estar Animal — a city government office that oversees animal welfare and is part of Nova Friburgo's Town Hall structure. Carla Freire coordinates a makeshift shelter here, with 40 dogs and cats whose families were killed or displaced in mudslides. Carla has already adopted out 170 "mudslide animals" and hopes to rehome them all, to make room for more still wandering in the rubble.

Carla asks Kinship Circle-IDA to assist with implementation of a spay-neuter clinic, along with adoption, education, vaccination drives for mudslide survivors. She hopes to rotate animals from street to shelter to spay-neuter and vaccination, then on to new homes. If the process moves forward, more orphaned animals can be helped. Unfortunately, as disaster aid responders, we must assess and go to the most dire areas that require search and rescue and crisis sheltering. Tomorrow we travel to Terespolis, where thousands of animals have passed through a single shelter. In nearby Santa Rita, a destroyed and vacated city, search and rescue is still underway. If we get more funding, we can send volunteers to cover both areas. At present, we do not have the means to be in two places at once.

Nicky's Story — A Thousand Times Over

KINSHIP CIRCLE-IDA TEAM: Jan and Carlos Cabral
LOCATION: Teresopolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

► NEWS FROM TERESOPOLIS IS NOT GOOD. Animals stream into the warehouse that shelters thousands displaced by floods. IDA-Kinship Circle responders Carlos and Jan Cabral assist Bebete Filpi, who leads volunteers from NGO EstimAcao. Animals are stressed. Fights erupt.

despair in Teresopolis IDA-Kinship Circle volunteer Jan Cabral writes: "Nicky is very insecure. We think she is still in shock." Brazil Floods-Mudslides 2011, Jan Cabral in Teresopolis

► NICKY'S STORY: Jan learns that the dog her family adopted from the Teresopolis shelter belonged to humans swallowed alive in a landslide. She bathes Nicky in love, even as she hears similar stories about the next six arrivals. At home, Nicky grieves for the family she lost. The frail dog clings to Jan — perhaps afraid her new family will vanish too. Nicky is 10, crippled, a GSD mix. She hobbled into the shelter in a mud-caked collar, sad and thin. One leg dangles uselessly. A toe is gone. A pad is also absent from her foot, leaving bone to heal atop bone. Still, she moves about. At the moment, her sorrow seems more crippling. Jan and Carlos had vowed to adopt the animal no one else would take. With Nicky, they found the heart of a nation in mourning. And they found love.

Nicky Today a dog arrives with so many maggots, his tail falls off during treatment. IDA-Kinship Circle need donations to send more veterinary responders.

I Am Crying As I Write These Words

KINSHIP CIRCLE-IDA TEAM: Brenda Shoss, Jan Cabral
LOCATION: Teresopolis, Petropolis, Santa Rita, Sao Jose, Agua Claras

► PHOTOS, REPORTS SHOW ANIMALS IN DESPERATE NEED. IDA-Kinship Circle team member Jan Cabral lives in Posse Petropolis, Brazil. About 30 miles away is utter despair. In Santa Rita, a mountain crumbled over the city. Today, Jan visits the warehouse in Meudon, a suburb of Teresopolis, that serves as a makeshift shelter for thousands of animals. "I have seen despair. This is worse."

despair in Teresopolis
Rescues are cramped inside a warehouse that serves as shelter for animals displaced in Brazil's floods and landslides. This Teresopolis site has housed over 1,000 animals at a time. Jan Cabral in Teresopolis

► TERESOPOLIS: Today 250 animals are at the Teresopolis warehouse. Brazilian Bebete Filpi leads a handful of local volunteers. Bebete is weary and frazzled. There are never enough hands to heal broken bones, sores and sickness. Bebete, who lost five of her own animals to the floods, has relocated 700 animals on her rural property. Another emergency shelter houses hundreds more.

► DYING, SICK, INJURED: Untreated broken bones, lack of medication, overcrowding, fights between stressed and disoriented animals. An intolerable heat bears down on animals and humans alike. It's summer in Brazil, with temps in the 80s and 90s. A few fans stir the muggy air inside the warehouse. Animals are doused in cold water. With the lack of fluid bags and lines, dehydration is a serious concern.

► SUPPORT IS CRITICAL: Today Jan sees a dog arrive with burns over his body. Another is maggot-infested. Teresopolis lost 27 residential districts to this disaster. Dead people were pulled from trees. Many animals belong to humans who will never return.

  • Xilazina
  • Ketamina
  • Zoletil
  • IV Stands & IV Sets / 4 ft 14 gauge x 1
  • IV Fluids, IV Catheters
  • Adrenalina
  • Capstar
  • Disposable Syringes
  • Giardia Medication

Floods And Mudslides Leave Animals Hurt, Sick, Scared

LOCATION: Nova Friburgo, Teresopolis, Petropolis, Santa Rita, Sao Jose, Agua Claras

► FLOODS AND MUDSLIDES LEAVE ANIMALS HURT, SICK, SCARED: On 1/12/11, the rainfall began. By the following week, flash floods swept through Sao Paulo and the mountain region of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Mudslides swallowed buildings, trees, roads. These catastrophic events are linked to over 700 deaths. Tens of thousands of people lost homes. In destroyed towns near Rio, an unknown number of animals (estimated in the tens of thousands or more) are affected. Shortly after we heard reports of cats, dogs, horses… dying, injured, and stranded… we reached out to Brazilian animal groups. With many people gone, strays have lost survival resources. “Pets” were left behind or lost in the chaos or orphaned when caregivers died.

► TERESOPOLIS: Hundreds to thousands of rescued animals have passed through an overcrowded warehouse in the borough of Meudon. Veterinarians and volunteers with the local group Estimacao rescue and care for the animals. "They are doing what they can, but need more space, vets and support."

► SANTA RITA: IDA-Kinship Circle team members who live in Petropolis report high casualties in Santa Rita, where many people and animals died "buried up to their necks in mud." The entire community was swept away when half a mountain disintegrated and fell upon them.

► SAO JOSE: A gut-wrenching photo from this town shows a woman air-lifted from deep waters. She clutches her little dog. As the lift begins, the dog falls from her arms and presumably drowns. We are aware of one veterinarian here, with some 50 rescued animals situated in a gymnasium.

► AGUA CLARAS: This city suffered a large brunt of the damage, but reports are hazy as to animal conditions. Many phone lines are still down.

► PETROPOLIS: Despite the proximity of these towns, virtually untouched areas stand just miles away from demolished areas. Posse Petropolis, where our IDA-Kinship Circle team member lives, endured little damage. A short distance away in Petropolis, flash floods submerged everything in their path.

Kinship Circle & IDA Join Forces

► KINSHIP CIRCLE AND IN DEFENSE OF ANIMALS (IDA) FORM PARTNERSHIP TO AID ANIMAL VICTIMS OF BRAZIL FLOODS AND MUDSLIDES: Kinship Circle and IDA share 30-plus years combined animal disaster aid experience in over 35 countries. The union between two dedicated groups expands communication and action — so we can reach stranded animals more quickly.


► KINSHIP CIRCLE focuses in Animal Advocacy, Education and Disaster Rescue. We provide USA/global aid for animals harmed in disasters and action for all victims of greed and cruelty.

Kinship Circle Disaster Animal Response Team (KC-DART) is a nonprofit that works in agreement with government and NGOs in disaster-stricken areas. We provide skill, experience, stamina and leadership — in a spirit of cooperation to best serve animals. Responders reflect a wide range of training, credentials and experience in:
  • Search and Rescue
  • Technical Rescue/Large Animal Rescue
  • Ground Assessment
  • Veterinary Treatment Experience
  • Emergency Sheltering
  • Shelter In Place (in-field food/water delivery)
  • Specialized Training (wildlife rehab, water rescue, fire, etc.)

Some disasters we've worked in are: Oklahoma Tornado, Superstorm Sandy, Thailand Floods, Hurricane Irene, Japan Quake-Tsunami, Brazil Mudslides, Chile Quake-Tsunami, Gulf BP Oil Crisis, Haiti Quake, Iowa Floods, Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
► IN DEFENSE OF ANIMALS: seeks to end animal exploitation, cruelty, and abuse by protecting and advocating for the rights, welfare, and habitats of animals, as well as raise their status beyond mere property, commodities, or things.

Founded in 1983 by world reknowned Dr. Elliot M. Katz, DVM — IDA has won precedent setting victories for animals in the U.S. and around the world, including: Closure of the Coulston Foundation, among the world's largest chimpanzee experimentation labs; Creation of a chimp sanctuary/education center in the West African Republic of Cameroon; Ending New York University's gruesome crack cocaine experiments on monkeys and Rockefeller University's vomiting experiments on cats; Contributing to passage of a law that protects Taiwan's 1.7 million stray dogs from cruelty, abandonment, and exploitation.

Cancellation of a proposed seal slaughter off the coast of South Africa; Rescue of hundreds of dogs and cats in a devastating firestorm that swept through Oakland/Berkeley Hills; Undercover investigations to expose puppy mill cruelty; Development of a 64-acre abused animal sanctuary in rural Mississippi…and more!

See Kinship Circle Disaster Animal Response Team in rescues around the world ▼
Watch Rescues & Learn About Our DART Team!

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spacer spacer KINSHIP CIRCLE
Animal Advocacy  |  Education  |  Disaster Aid  •  •
314-795-2646  |  7380 Kingsbury Blvd  |  Saint Louis, MO 63130 USA

●  Federal 501c3 under U.S. IRS ruling, Public Charity Status: 170b1Avi
●  Tax Employee Identification Number (EIN) available upon request
●  Nonprofit Certificate of Incorporation, Charter: N00071626