Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Hurricane Katrina and the animals

There's been so much news about hurricane Katrina and one of the big stories is about the animals involved. The last few days, the news have been focusing largely on the animals. I was speaking to the ACA people and they mentioned that in one shelter, they evacuated but left the animals - the animals on the lower levels all drowned, the rest treaded water till they were saved.

The man who gave the keynote address at the conference runs a radio programme and has been speaking to Katrina survivors. He mentioned speaking to quite a few people who didn't leave because they couldn't take their animals. One lady refused to go because she didn't have enough money to drive away and all the hotels that took animals were full. She said when she got to the pickup point - almost everyone was holding animals. She waited there for hours, and many people said they couldn't leave because they had animals they couldn't bear to leave behind. She said that they were all loaded on a bus, and these people had lost everything, but everyone was calm until they mentioned that they would be separated from their animals. She said at this point, people started crying, from kids to adults. When they got to the shelter, the woman who ran in, encouraged them to take their animals in, and the woman with her animals said she realised the shelter was neat, people were respectful and responsible and everyone there was taking comfort in their animals and talking to them.

The man who told us this story ended off by saying that five years ago, there would not be so much coverage about animals - people would be saying it was insensitive to talk about animals when people were involved, but he made an excellent point. To many people, these aren't 'just animals' - he said these were family and I totally agree.

Look at the little boy who was separated from his dog at the Superdome - he was so upset, he cried until he vomitted. People all over the country looked for the dog - and now they've found it. Everyone loves a happy ending.

6 Comments:

Blogger vegancat said...

Yes, this is when we have truly arrived at being "civilised" species :)

14/9/05 9:23 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Let's hope we can all realise how important a role animals play in our lives!

14/9/05 1:28 PM  
Blogger budak said...

A different view of the episode comes from here: http://www.slate.com/id/2126124/

Though a pet owner himself, the author seems to disregard the real value that people accord to their pets (and vice versa, in the emotional support and ties provided by the animals). Real life is NOT a Disney film, and it seems some people still fail to see that.

14/9/05 9:39 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Hmmm you're right and reports just came in two hours ago that Snowball has not been found.

However, I DO know that when they had battered shelters for women and allowed women to bring their pets, more women left their homes. Apparently quite a few women did not want to leave abusive relationships, fearing their spouses would take it out on their dogs.

Sure - it's not about endangering people, but what could have been done to prevent all this? Better management of the situation BEFOREHAND. One of the shelters according to Alley Cat Allies, evacuated ALL their animals safely before the Hurricane hit. What they are now encouraging is that people have a plan to evacuate people AND animals before. If not, you are going to get some people who are going to refuse to leave because of their companions.

15/9/05 12:03 AM  
Anonymous Aminah Bee said...

It strike fear in me, what happen to our pets, if Singapore facing disaster ... I have here with me, a Civil Defence handbook, although it is an outdated, edition published in year 2001, it mentioned under the subject "Protection - Shelter Protection ... Do not bring pets in the Civil Defence shelter."

We can protect ourselves, but not our pets. The Civil Defence guideline is that, we are to leave our pets behind during evacuation, natural disaster or war. Hope Singapore Civil Defence can allowed pets during emergency evacuation, as most pet lovers would not leave their pets behind. I know that I am one of them! I would not leave my pet cat Lucky helpless, fending himself in times of disaster.

16/9/05 11:16 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

And that's exactly why some people refused to leave their homes. It's not because they were stubborn or stupid, but they could see no other choice. For quite a lot of people I'm sure, it's like saying to leave a family member behind.

17/9/05 2:12 AM  

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