Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter
From 15 November 2005 Issue
PAWPRINTS, FOOTPRINTS & ANIMAL CHATTER
by Judith Marie Gansen
Lessons from Hurricane Katrina
Like everyone else who has a heart for humans and animals, I watched the
coverage of the many hurricanes our country has endured and prayed and sobbed my
eyes out. I wanted to write about the disaster but initially was too overcome
with grief--the images will haunt me forever. The people and animals in New
Orleans particularly deserved alot better than they got and those responsible
for not having a better response must be held accountable--no matter their
political party or what rock they crawled out from under.
Many victims were poor people and people of color. And the elderly. And single
moms. I was furious--I called the White House and Congress--anyone I could think
of to help those people. While this was a huge storm, they knew it was coming
and there simply is no excuse for how bad things got. I said to my husband I
wonder if this disaster was about to hit Beverly Hills how prepared the
government would have been. The Bible says it is no crime to be poor.
My husband and I tried to so some things to help both the human and animal
victims--donate some money, food and supplies and drove rescue items to where
they were needed. Judging by the ferocity of the tornados and hurricanes lately,
I think we can all agree we need to act now to protect our planet and realize
that Global Warming is not a myth. It was predicted storms would get worse and
they are. Also the wetland area by New Orleans I read had been removed so the
area could be developed. How sad they didn't listen to those who said that it
helped to protect the city from storms and was needed. Wetland areas are
nature's water purifiers and act as buffer zones as well as being homes for many
species of animals--they must be protected.
Some Ideas for Houses in Hurricane or Flood Prone Areas
Sadly many people died during these disasters because they made it to their
attic but got trapped there, unable to get to the roof. How much does an ax and
crowbar cost? Put them in every attic as part of a home's safety kit. Keep a
rescue kit with provisions in the attic too in a secure plastic container as
well as one for your pets--a spare kennel cab too or dog muzzles and leashes
(this will prove to people your dog isn't a threat to bite anyone--practice
putting the muzzle on for short periods and give them a super treat after).
Have I.D. on your pets at all times--how many people are regretting they didn't
do that now?
Building codes could be changed in these areas too--why not some kind of escape
hatch to the roof? Or why not include in the building code tools in the attic
to punch through the roof? Building codes are in place for things like smoke
detectors and fire extinguishers, why not for floods?
Demand that houses be built stronger--you can do this when houses are first
built much cheaper than adding safety features later. Houses can often stand up
to hurricanes and even tornados if things like concrete and steel frames are
used. Put shutters on homes and/or special reinforced glass. Trade off the
fancy features you were going to put on a house you are building and instead use
that money to build them stronger--you will save on insurance costs too. By
building houses so cheaply and so easy to be destroyed by storms as we do now,
the costs are passed on to all of us in higher insurance rates not to mention
the deaths and suffering they cause.
If you are getting ready to build anything from a hospital to a school or an
animal sanctuary, maybe putting it in a place where it will be in harm's way
isn't the best idea--the land may be cheap but you may pay bigtime later on.
Should I Take My Pet?
In most cases if you have money and you have to think about that question, you
don't have a pet, you have a dog or cat who happen to share the same address.
However, many of the Katrina people had no way to evacuate because they were
poor and many buses wouldn't allow pets. There is pending legislation to change
that so this NEVER happens again!! People also put themselves in harm's way to
go back and rescue their pets too. Many died BECAUSE they refused to leave
their beloved pet. Call, write, fax and email and get this bill moving now!!!
Federal Bill for Pets in
I also read one account which said that about 400 pets got out because smart
people found ways to hide their pets. I would assume these were toy dogs and
very small pets. I sat down with our largest dog and tried to decide if she
could fit between my legs if I was sitting on a bus--she wouldn't take away any
space for another person. Maybe a 150 pound dog would take up more space but
couldn't the person next to me scrunch up alittle? I would do that so a
person's pet would fit.
One friend said to me what about her asthma--she is allergic to dogs and could
get into trouble getting on a bus with pets. In any good safety kit especially
for someone with respiratory problems, it would be a good idea to have some face
masks and backup meds--any disaster brings with it dust and allergens. Perhaps
a few buses could be designated --"pet free for people with health issues." Or
have the pet buses leave last--I am sure they would not mind waiting to evacuate
if they could bring their pets with them!
I saw one couple interviewed in one area who said they refused to evacuate
because of their dog--they couldn't find a motel that allowed pets. Duh!!! If
a mandatory evacuation has been ordered, for God's sake, leave if you can!!
Worry later about where to stay. We would sleep in the car with our dogs or on
the street if we had to as I mentioned in a previous article. There are motels
who will allow pets during emergencies--thanks to those motels who do this, you
How about if humane societies and shelters allow evacuees with their pets to
stay with them? Many did this during the storms but how about an official
policy for all humane societies and shelters and fairgrounds?
The Biggest Enemy of Disaster Safety - "It Won't Happen To Me"
Nearly every area of our country has places where a disaster can occur.
Earthquakes and hurricanes and tornadoes are what most people think of but what
about nuclear power plant accidents, chemical plants or do you live near
railroad tracks--what kinds of toxic items may be shipped that way? Or do you
live by a highway where a crashed semi trailer may require the evacuation of
everyone for 1,000 miles? What about mud slides or forest fires or rock slides
that can close roads in mountainous areas?
Think about where you live and what you could end up being involved in. Think
about all those who depend on you for their lives both in your own family and
your neighbors--, children, the elderly, pets and physically, mentally and sight
challenged. Do you have a plan for them too?
I get teased a lot about having safety equipment everywhere--in our home and our
2 vehicles and often give a safety kit as a gift. Hopefully, it's something
that will never have to be used--but it will be worth the cost of gold if you
ever need it!
Staff: Animals in Print (free online animal publication)
Pawprints, Footprints & Animal Chatter (my editorials on mostly animal
issues--if you email me please indicate in the subject column it is about one of
my articles so it doesn't get deleted as spam--thanks)
"We exist to educate and through compassion and knowledge improve the lives
of all beings."
were taken by unknown rescuers
To enlarge the photos, click on the photos or links
(Photo - 01)
The story begins with the rescuers finding
this poor little guy that someone had already taken under their wing but
weren't equipped to adopt;
(Photo - 02)
so Ralphie, scared and nearly starved
joined the rescuers
(Photo - 03)
I wouldn't think anyone or anything could
live thru this
(Photo - 04)
but this sweet little beagle lady did
(Photo - 05)
scared but safe
(Photo - 06)
and no longer alone!
(Photo - 07)
Can y'all say "instant pals"
(Photo - 08)
Add two more beagles
(Photo - 09) and life really is good
(Photo - 10) hmmmmm- a new traveler
is added to the mix - how is this going to work???
(Photo - 11) It's going to work just
fine, thank you!
(Photo - 12) One big happy family
Go on to
QUOTE: Speaking Out Against Animal Abuse
Return to Animals in Print 15
November 2005 Issue
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