Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Another post-Katrina custody battle

An article in yesterday's Washington Post, Fangs Are Bared Over Md. Group's Katrina Dog Rescues, describes yet another custody battle over dogs rescued after Hurrican Katrina. Although I'm of the opinion that in all cases the dogs should be returned to their previous owners, I'm afraid this is going to cast a pall over future post-diaster rescue efforts. There is no question that the animals needed to be removed from the Gulf area and provided with foster homes, but it has become clear that the waiting period before permanent adoptions were allowed was too short in most cases. So many lives were so completely disrupted after Katrina that many people took a lot longer than expected to re-connect with the pets they had to leave behind.

Of course, in my opinion a better solution would be to make provisions for pets a part of all future disaster evacuation plans. Come to think of it, it would have been nice if there had been adequate evacuation plans for the people in Katrina's path, not to mention their beloved pets, but I digress ...

In North Carolina, Hurricane Floyd in 1999 resulted in the loss of 3 million pets and farm animals. As a result the state started SART, the State Animal Response Team to plan and prepare for future animal emergencies. Several other states have also intituted their own SART programs; contact information can be found here.

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