September 1, 2008

When Labor Day is a disaster

By winecountrydog

I've been "MIA" 'cuz of readin' and compilin' info about animal rescue and evacuation before, during, and after the hurricane.

I'd planned this Labor Day to enjoy and then paw-write about Sonoma Wine Country Weekend. This has been the first weekend in months that I felt up to visiting wineries with dog-ma.

Instead, I've been pawing and twittering about pet evacuation and disaster survival. Now I'm looking at post-Gustav animal rescue efforts.

Some news made me growl. After Gustav made landfall, there were reports of abandoned dogs in the New Orleans area. Best Friends Rapid Response Team went around to houses to follow up on the reports. Many dogs weren't just left behind: They were left tied up in yards, left to suffer and die!

The team's field leader, Rich Crook, has been still compiling lists of confirmed addresses with dogs abandoned and dogs chained in the yards. Mr. Crook and a Jefferson Parish Animal Control officer go out and check on the dogs' well being, and, if need be, rescue and hold them until their guardian/owners return.

my little Dachshund buddy
I have to ask: Do they really return the dogs to the same humans? . . . And what can rescuers do about all the abandoned pets inside evacuees' houses?

Oh howl, I won't dogress into pain and controversy. It's not gonna help right now. Besides, many compassionate humans refused to evacuate and weren't about to abandon their pets.

Oscar the dachshund, who lives in St. Bernard Parish, told roving reporters today that his human, Gerald LeBlanc, has a boogie board fur him and a life preserver jacket fur himself. They aren't going anywhere. Oscar munched on bacon as Mr. LeBlanc, whose home had been destroyed once in Katrina, explained, "I'm staying right here. I'm tired of running."

In another part of the same parish, which has been under 24-hour curfew, a human named Anthony Stipelcovich risked arrest today to make several miles-long round trips on foot. Mr. Stipelcovich used a gardening cart to ferry his dog, his seven cats, and his aquariums of hamsters and mice to his sister's house.

When sheriff's deputies came upon Mr. Stipelcovich at one point, he had to talk his way out of being arrested. He says, "I guess they were just being compassionate, being merciful. I'm glad they didn't do that. I'm saving my pets."

Woof! What a nice human.

We need to share info and resources to help animals to find temporary shelter, to get through the next storm, to get back their proper homes, and to stay safe and fed.

Pawleeze me and I'll post what you find.

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