The pet thing I posted over the weekend about people being reluctant to evacuate because they didn’t want to leave dogs or cats got a lot of reaction. I obviously wasn’t saying that the only reason people didn’t leave was pets. Nor was I saying the pets are as important as people. Just that many people who can’t take their pets with them will be reluctant to leave. The Washington Post wrote about this today:
A potential problem for authorities is people refusing to leave. Some residents say they want to protect their homes. Others fear the hassles of evacuation, particularly if they have pets, which are not allowed on the evacuation buses…
Shawn Lazana, 36, an artist, and Kay Kennedy, 41, a writer, had been trying to stay in her uptown home when a military unit arrived with automatic weapons to evacuate them. Their street is flooded, and Lazana said he had seen the bodies of an elderly woman and a young child in the water. But they were trying to ride out the hard times so that Kennedy could continue to care for her cats, Armand and Gabriel. “We were basically forced out at gunpoint,” Lazana said.
Here are some of the e-mails:
–Subject: Lowry blames the pets…
You’ve never looked dumber
–Subject: Pet Lovers
Oh, for cryin’ out loud. Who cares about “pets”? Can’t you keep your eye on the ball for at least the length of the game?…Say goodbye to a once loyal reader.
–Subject: Pet Lovers
Yeah… it was probably all pet owners. Just keep saying it to yourself over and over.
You have heard of poor people, right? You know not everyone has a MasterCard to put their hotel on?
–Subject: People with pets staying behind
Ref. your “Pet Lovers” post – very similar happened last year “down south” with Charley and Frances. People know the shelters don’t take pets, and for those with no private transport, or who can’t afford a hotel that will take pets, there may not be any apparent solution but to stay and take their chances. And this, which I found on wwltv.com, doesn’t help future evacuations: “In one example reported last week by The Associated Press, a police officer took a dog from one little boy waiting to get on a bus in New Orleans. `Snowball! Snowball!’ the boy cried until he vomited. The policeman told a reporter he didn’t know what would happen to the dog.
At the hospital, a doctor euthanized some animals at the request of their
owners, who feared they would be abandoned and starve to death. He set up a
small gas chamber out of a plastic-wrapped dog kennel.”
In the wake of Charley and Frances, where (if I recall correctly) several
people died because they stayed behind with their animals, I believe there
was some consideration of allowing animals in shelters, or of setting up
animal shelters. Not sure how much progress there’s been there.
Keep up the good work!
–Subject: The pet lovers
My husband and I were talking about this last night (our last night, we live in Tokyo), only to wake up to your comment!
Many people would have to believe their lives were in imminent danger before they would leave their pet behind. For most of us, the pet is a part of the family and for many elderly people, the pet is their lifeline. Shelters won’t take the pets, the public transportation taking people to shelters won’t take the pets.
If they’ve survived hurricanes before, or watched them on tv, they could very well decide they’d rather take the chance of having their windows blow out than never seeing their pet again….
AND A DISTURBING REAL-LIFE STORY:
Subject: Pets and Evacuations
A friend of mine’s son evacuated New Orleans pre-landfall with (gulp) three ferrets in the back seat of his car. Two things: First, apparently it was against the law to just leave your pets behind during a mandatory evacuation. BUT, as this individual found out, when you bug out to a motel in, say, Memphis as he did, there tends to be a dim view taken toward pets. Apparently many hotel chains don’t offer a multi-ferret discount room rate.