Hurricane Dog Flies Cross-Country to Reunite With Family

Tuesday, 4 October, 2005
Long Beach, CA
The 2,000-mile flight from Baton Rouge, LA to Los Angeles, CA will be a journey home of sorts for Benetting, a year-old yellow labrador-mix dog separated from his owners after Hurricane Katrina. IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare -- is set to fly the friendly pooch out this evening to reunite him with his family in Long Beach, CA on Wednesday morning, October 5th.
Benetting is one of more than 5,000 companion animals affected by Hurricane Katrina, many of which are only now able to reunite with their owners who were displaced by the disaster. Pedro Garnica and his wife and son evacuated out of the hurricane zone with their dog to a shelter in Baton Rouge, but after two days there, Benetting was taken from them by local police, who cited the shelter's 'no dog' policy. "My wife and son cried so hard, and then I began to cry too," said Pedro Garnica of being separated from his dog. "My sixteen-year-old son Peter misses him terribly," he added. "After the crisis we have faced, we just want to have him back with us."

The Garnicas have not seen their dog since he was taken from them. Before leaving Louisiana for Long Beach, California, where friends offered them a place to stay, they searched Baton Rouge animal shelters with no luck thinking their beloved pet was gone forever.

But, using a database of missing pets, officials from IFAW tracked Benetting down at an emergency animal shelter set up at Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge.

"Reuniting families -- like the Garnicas -- with their pets brings a ray of hope to their shattered lives," said IFAW's Program Director A.J. Cady. "Many hurricane survivors have told us they could deal with the hurricane, with the floods, and with losing their homes, but they could not bear losing their family pet -- whether it was their dog, cat, horse, ferret or even pig."

IFAW has had teams on the ground since Hurricane Katrina hit, carrying out animal rescues, setting up temporary shelters, organizing mass animal transports, and helping families to reunite with their companion animals. IFAW teams also continue search and rescues in the wake of Hurricane Rita. Please help IFAW continue this vital work that brings hope to those in need, visit or phone 1-800-932-IFAW (4329) and support IFAW today.

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