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    Pets & Their People

    Katrina, Now Gustav...And Thank God! We Have Learned Something!

    by C. Miriam Yarden, B.Sc., MS
    Contributing Editor,

    Ms. Yarden is a practicing animal behavior specialist (Aurora Animal Behaviour) with 35 years of experience in the field and is a published author on the subject. Her "Pets & Their People/Perspective" appears exclusively on

    [Editor note: On Aug. 30, described pet preparations taken in advance of Hurricane Gustav. On Monday night Sept. 1, the New Orleans Times-Picayune ( reported on the positive results.]

    (Sept. 2, 2008) -- Recalling the horror and heartbreak of the fate of animals during Hurricane Katrina, the coming of Hurricane Gustav prompted urgent, humane and compassionate activities to prevent the same kind of devastation again.

    State Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain announced that pet shelters for animal owners were ready for service during the Gustav evacuation, and the Louisiana SPCA with the cooperation of the Texas SPCA were evacuating animals.

    University students traveled to Shreveport to care for the evacuated pets.

    On Friday the Governor's Office of Homeland Security published another request for volunteers who are working 12-hour shifts.

    Authorities reported that the Category 4 storm south of Cuba was growing toward a Category 5, which necessitated for people as well as animals to leave New Orleans, according to Times Staff Writer David Succhino. [Fortunately, Gustav arrived as a Category 2 storm; Katrina arrived as a Category 3].

    Trucks loaded with pet carriers were collecting companion animals, creating identification devices placed on each pet and given to owners. These truck, when loaded, followed the vehicles carrying human evacuees.

    It seems that indeed, we HAVE learned something. Thank God!

    [Editor postscript: Following Hurricane Katrina, Friends of Long Beach Animals (FoLBA) campaigned for donations, committing a 100% pass-through distributing $16,826 to several organizations doing good rescue work or vet care for the Katrina animals. FoLBA adopted Long Beach, Mississippi's Animal Control...and sent $2,500. FoLBA has now sent the balance of $1,334.06 in its Katrina fund to Long Beach, MS to buy more cages, food, medical supplies, an air-conditioning hook-up and insulation. Disclosure: FoLBA is an advertiser.]

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