OAKLAND — Jeffrey is a grayish schnauzer with no beard and some Southern charm.

He is still a bit shaken after surviving Hurricane Katrina, several lonely nights in a make-shift Louisiana animal shelter and a cramped plane ride from Baton Rouge to the Bay Area late Friday.

But nonetheless he's going to be ready to play and may become someone's new best friend.

Like thousands of pets displaced by the hurricane and massive floods starting on Aug. 29, Jeffery is without his rightful owner, his special toy or his favorite backyard tree. Now he's thousands of miles from home.

Still, he is one of the lucky ones.

Jeffrey was flown from the flood zone to California with a tag on his collar listing his owner's name, address and phone number in New Orleans.

Many of the estimated

50,000 dogs and cats and other animals separated from their owners in the storm's wake were left wandering without identification.

Some swam to safety and were rescued. Many died. Bodies of dogs and cats litter the streets of the New Orleans area. Surviving animals are dehydrated, starving and beset by disease.

Some pets were taken to makeshift shelters in Baton Rouge and other cities and then flown to dry, safe states for possible reunions, foster care and adoption.

On Saturday a veterinarian, animal care workers and volunteers at the East Bay SPCA shelter in Oakland spent several hours examining 10 dogs and 17 cats and kittens that arrived in San Francisco on Friday from Baton Rouge.

The vet checked their bodies, eyes, and weight and ran her hands over their fur.

She examined the animals to ascertain whether they had been spayed or neutered and tested dogs for heartworm, which they can get from mosquitoes. The displaced dogs have been found about 30 percent positive for the disease, which can be fatal if not treated.

"The screening process is very important," said East Bay SPCA spokeswoman Kirsten Park. "We are finding a variety of health issues in the animals. Some are just basically scared and underweight, while others have some serious health issues and need to be treated."

Many were rescued by the National Guard or found on a street corner by passers-by.

The pets will be kept at the shelter until foster homes are found. Their pictures and descriptions will be posted on the Web site http://www.petfinder.org in hopes of finding the rightful owners. In 30 days the pets will go up for adoption, Park said, but first, they had to be made presentable again.

Because many of the dogs and cats did not have tags, microchips or paperwork, the shelter workers gave them new names with a Southern twist.

There was Gumbo and Fifi, Madame and Brioche. There were three beagles in the bunch. "That's a really popular dog in the South," Park said.

There was also a pitbull mix, a Lhasa apso and many noisy and wide-eyed cats of all colors and sizes.

All the pets cared for at the clinic in Oakland on Saturday were rescued from New Orleans and given a safe haven in Baton Rouge until they were transported.

The dogs didn't seem to like the shots and the blood-drawing part of the ordeal Saturday. But the baths were a welcome change of pace, especially for a Shih Tzu named Madame.

"She stunk pretty bad," said East Bay SPCA feline associate and medical support worker Jennifer McNeilley. "It might take a couple of baths to get that (smell) out. But she was so good (in the bath), she lifted her paw and let me wash her feet."

The dog liked the warm water, McNeilley said.

A veterinarian said the dog appeared to be in "pretty good condition," despite an eye infection and a lot of stress.

Park said Oakland was able to take the dogs and cats without displacing any animals who are currently living in Oakland shelters. "They haven't solved pet overpopulation in this community, but we have given ourselves a lot of breathing room with dogs with spay and neuter."

Not every city could take in displaced animals, but many still wanted to help. Animals lovers in Oregon sent food and toys, towels and blankets to the Oakland shelter for the Katrina dogs and cats. 

IDEXX Laboratories donated 100 heart worm and other tests for the displaced critters. And "hundreds" of people have called with offers to adopt Oakland's newest four-legged residents, Park said.

"I think this touches people's hearts," said Park. "But the important thing to know is that (animals are displaced and need homes) every day, just not in such a dramatic fashion."