Hurricane Katrina: One Year Later
The one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is approaching. This week Spike Lee debuted his new documentary, "When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts” on HBO. Earlier this month the Pet Evacuation and Transportation Act passed the Senate and twice in one week the Washington Post published an article on Hurricane Katrina victims and their displaced pets.
With over 15,000 animals rescued following the hurricane and so many victims losing their animals, what is the general feeling on encouraging these misplaced victims to adopt additional pets, particularly if their pet survived the disaster and are now owned by other individuals? I’d be interested to know how many victims already have adopted additional animals.
For the past week the IFAW Animal Rescue blog has been featuring commentary on Katrina Animal Rescue Custody Disputes. There’s a general feeling that the custody disputes have reached a legal level that is unnecessary and that the foster owners and the original owners in these cases need to drop swords and communicate with each other. Judging by how many people have posted to say they would never leave their animals behind in an emergency evacuation, I’m assuming that individuals are learning to prepare and plan ahead. For those who are, here's something that can help: IFAW’s Disaster Preparation Brochure.
This week’s Washington Post article features a jazz funeral parade for pets lost to Katrina. People who lost their animals in some way or another came together with photos and flowers in memory of dear friends. This is quite a different look into the tragedy of losing a pet compared to the WP’s article last week on custody disputes. The reality is that many Katrina victims who lost their animals are finding comfort in each other. No matter how the loss occurred, no matter if the owners evacuated with or without their pets, these people are experiencing the painful lose of a companion and are reaching out to others who are going through the same thing.