While Hurricane Katrina's human relief efforts show gradual signs of progress, national animal service groups estimate nearly 50,000 animals are stranded, and in need of immediate care.
"I saw the media outlets. Animals in trees, rooftops, wandering the streets. We need to respond to this, and we need to respond to this now," Longanecker said.
Winnebago County Animal Services are responding now. On Tuesday, director Gary Longanecker and staff announce a relief drive through October 1st, with the goal of raising $25,000 for animal care.
"We know nationally there is a strong effort to save the animals. We want to be part of that locally," Longanecker said.
The local pet relief funds will be spread throughout the Gulf Coast's affected areas. The dollars will purchase anything from pet food to animal bedding to collars and leashes, giving hope for those pets suddenly without their loved ones.
"It's going to be a tremendous public responsibility to provide housing for these animals, and then eventually find homes for those families that can't be reunited with their owners," Longanecker said.
Longanecker is hopeful of the community's response, for this massive and long term pet relief project.
"I would find some solace in knowing that this nation has rallied around this need for animal care, and hopefully somebody will take care of that animal. It means a lot of to each one of these people," Longanecker said.
The area is pitching in, to pitch the Gulf's pets out of harm's way. Winnebago County Animal Services is accepting check donations. The animal services are located at 4517 North Main Street in Rockford.
Make sure to write "hurricane relief" on the memo portion of the check.
You can contact the animal services at (815) 877-3073.