“In the end, over 600,000 animals were killed or stranded because of Hurricane Katrina,” reports Wendi Jonassen in The Atlantic. The surviving strays made homes in abandoned houses and under porches. Today, there are still sections of New Orleans that remain abandoned, now overrun with weeds and wild dogs.
There simply aren’t enough people to adopt all these dogs. Louisiana Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals (LA-SPCA) is taking multiple approaches to solving the problem.
“We employ every initiative possible to find an adoptable animal a home, but because of the pet overpopulation problem of our community we do have to euthanize adoptable animals due to space,” LA-SPCA spokesperson Katherine LeBlanc told NOLA.com. Spaying and neutering remains a huge priority, and in May of this year, some strays were exported to the Atlanta Humane Society.
In the seven years that have passed since Katrina, much has changed in how federal, state and local governments prepare for evacuations. After finding that many pet owners refused to evacuate, choosing instead to stay with their pets, Congress passed the Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act (PETS), says the blog Philly Dawg. The act directs all states receiving FEMA money to develop plans for pet evacuation in disasters. Many states have passed laws mandating comprehensive plans to keep pets from harm’s way and many shelters now accept pets. One can only hope that this will help this hurricane season, including during Hurricane Isaac, projected to hit New Orleans as well.
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