Sunday, March 19, 2006

Animals Held Hostage -- 6 months later

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Some of the most interesting posts are at the very bottom of the blog.
Scroll all the way down if you want to move forward from the day of Katrina. Remember the average Post has 50 "comments" from other people. Much of the great data is in the "comments" from others and all you do is click "comments" to see what others had to say for each post.

My Own Favorite Stuff On this Blog:

1. My own favorite Post: Click here
2. Best rescue video footage: Click here
3. This blog has the BEST PICTURES so far of Katrina Animals. It is all pics and good ones Click here
4. This is the coolest dog ever Click for The Coolest Dog Ever.
5. Most amazing photography: I mean must see: Click here
6. To reunite pets with owners: Click here
7. Watch a Pitbull video Click Here
Animals Held Hostage -- 6 months later
To save space this post continues in the "comments"

Here is a guest blog from Marilyn Knapp Litt, a Stealth Volunteer in San Antonio. Stealth is an ad hoc group of volunteers that has reunited over 1,000 families with their loved ones. Most of these animals were “lost in the system after leaving Lamar Dixon.” These cases are current as of March 7, 2006. She is seeking probono lawyers in every state. Please email her if you can help:

“Rescues without Reunions Bring Evacuees Despair”

These are just samples of the dozens of cases of shelters and people that refuse to return known pets to owners.

Case 1: An 67 year old man still waits to be reunited with his elderly cat. He located it in October. It was "rescued" by someone who kept the animals he took from Lamar. Why? Because the residents of New Orleans are "bad owners." This gentleman likely won’t live to see his cat again; tonight he went to the hospital with chest pains and stress related problems. At 67, you know what is important. That is why he grieves for his cat and not for his lost home or his lost city.

Case 2: Ransom: Another foster agrees with this assessment but is willing to look the other way if a “bad” owner will pay all the bills for his dog’s care. Never mind the owner cried with relief to find out his dog survived. Dog for ransom?

Case 3: (too many to name) I could list some of the best known shelters in the country. Their staff all have reasons not to return the animals in their care. A foster told me no one in the South should be allowed to have an animal. But then how do I reconcile that with the California shelter withholding a dog because it is too cold in Ohio? Or the many that demand the owners travel to their state?
Or the dozens that take the pictures off their website two hours after the owner calls. Or the few that took tags off animals?

Case 4: Should a two tour Iraqi vet consider his little dog as just part of his sacrifice, along with his New Orleans home? If he had cared about his dog, he would have taken it to Iraq! I am sure the military would have let him; after all they took so many animals from owners boarding busses. I even heard a rumor they went to Lamar and cherry picked some Rottweilers and German Shepherds for training. So rest easy all you people looking for Rottis, your dogs are serving your country!

Case 5: Then there is the Louisiana shelter that “fired” a volunteer for facilitating reunions. I have no idea what they did with the dogs they took, except for some desirable dogs that went home with one of the staff. I guess if you work at the pound, your friends get animals for Christmas!

SEE CASES #6-13 in the Comments.

These are but a smidgeon of the open cases. We now know of over 800 different locations that these dogs ended up at. None of these animals were rescued. They were taken. Had they been rescued, they would have been restored to grateful families. As it is, if they are not euthanized, they will be adopted out locally, leaving one less home for a local animal that will now be put to sleep. In the meantime, the heartbroken families of New Orleans will go without. Thank god for reunion volunteers who are helping some of these pet owners wrestle them back.

What is next on Erics Dog Blog:

I leave you with my own "in-family training."
This is my nephew practicing approaching "agressive animals" and showing you how we clean crates around our place (no more bending and kneeling).


At 3:50 PM, Anonymous Eric Rice said...

Case 6: There is a family that took their dog when evacuating from Katrina and left it in safe-keeping. It got swept up in the rescue effort for Rita. The shelter entered the wrong pick-up location on PetFinder. The family finally found, against all odds, where their beloved dog went, too late! It is adopted.

Case 7: One owner told me “Buddy was a Christmas Present from my husband of 24 years, who asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I replied diamond earrings. He gave me Buddy that Christmas and I would not trade him for a million diamond earrings. We are trying to rebuild our life after hurricane Katrina and I would give anything just to have Buddy back home." But the shelter said Buddy was not her dog because PetFinder showed a New Orleans zip code of 70112 and not the owner’s zip. The owner finally figured out that 70112 was the default and was entered whenever the rescuer did not know the zip code. But too late! Another dog gone to a better owner. How lucky that so many animals ended up after all their troubles with perfect people!

Case 8: How about the FAMOUS shelter that told the owner they “only took small dogs.” He can see his dog on their website where they celebrate all the animals they rescued. They won’t return his calls. They are above talking with owners. Since this is a high kill shelter and they have a low adoption rate, I suppose they believe the animals are better off dead. What special form did HSUS have them fill out to only get small dogs. Must be the inner circle.

Case 9: Must be the heat? The Florida triumvirate led by Pinellas Humane has 15+ known owned animals. They have a reunion rate of close to zero. That’s right near zero. (you don’t even want to know the story of the one they got home) And these shelters took as many as 500 animals in all.

Case 10: How about another Florida shelter that simply took tags of and tossed them. Thank God a volunteer saw how wrong this was and called Eric, who caught them in the act. Finally after 6 weeks of haggling they returned one dog after WE got the tags in our possession and located the owner.

Case 11: Success: If you can call this a success? Chat the Beagle was returned. Of course we had to pay the shelters $3000 lawyer bill as they tried to figure out how not to return him to the owners for 8 weeks. For 7 of the 8 weeks they just had the lawyer telling the owner never to call again. It wasn’t till a massive amount of local PR made them look bad that they finally admitted the dog was chat and returned it. Of course they wanted their lawyers fees. This is how they dealt with a good person, a good owner whose family had relavites die in Katrina and whose entire life had been transplanted in an instant to Houston. Talk about Ransom.

Case 12: Then there is this man who admits that he worked with a group that took dozens if not hundreds of dogs from Lamar Dixon Here is the statement he floated via email: “All the dogs that managed to be rescued from La, MS & Alabama DESERVE to live better lives than they were. Dogs who have been willingly left by their owners to fend for themselves because they were taking up too much room in the car or truck - deserve to go to better homes.” That is 50-100 he took that aint going home.

Case 13: we could be here all night. You get the picture….

At 4:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric, I have followed the animal rescues of NOLA since the storm hit. I can't think of a day that hasn't broken my heart into a million pieces - and each day seems to bring a new heartbreak. Do you have any insight, any answers to help prevent this madness and sorrow from repeating? How, how can we fix this?

Madaboutpets, WI

At 7:59 PM, Anonymous Eric Rice said...

1) Goverment has to catch up with what 80% of americans want. Almost cross the board Americans say they want pets and people evacuated together. It seems like such a common sense issue. People are just as messed up when they lose a pet as when they lose their house.
2) Pet Rescue needs some real guidelines as far as what should or should not be done with animals as they are taken in, fostered, adopted etc. I think Noahs Wish comes as close as anyone to having a good model. Hopefully some people will wake up and listen.
3) Intake and Tracking is the heart and soul of disaster rescue and some people simply didn't live up. How about a National Intake Certification?
4) People who stole pets should be blacklisted from disaster rescue. Disaster rescue is about people and pets. Not just getting some "katrinas" for your own local PR and then adopting them out.Let those people rescue animals with no owners but I don't want them coming to a disaster in my hometown.
5) Stop Global Warming because or we are going to have Katrinas every year..and much worse.
6) Counseling Program for top animal groups so they "just get along." I am kidding but the common person giving these people money is sick and tired of this nonsense out of these groups. Grow up and work together.

At 11:27 AM, Anonymous ChefsNoCook said...

I wrote my Representative from Tennessee, asking her to support HR3858 The Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act. Her response was: "Although I recognize the importance of protecting our beloved pets and service animals, I feel that private citizens should heed warnings from weather services and government agencies to take precautions for their animals whenever there is a possibility for disaster."
She missed the point. More people would have taken their pets if they knew the Red Cross and other organization would take their pets and what about all the owners who were forced to leave them. I intend to write her again no matter what, but would love to include the "80% of Americans want pets and people evacuated together" statement.

At 3:01 PM, Anonymous Eric Rice said...

She is totally missing it. You can never get 100% of the people out. Some are going to be their at the time of disaster and some are going to have pets. Punishing them with the death or loss of the pet is not a fair punishment.

Also, the ones leaving have no place to take pets. We need shelters outside the areas for them.

At 3:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plus their are not always warnings. This woman is an idiot.
Chemical spills, earthquakes etc come at us with NO prior warning. Please write her back. She doesn't get it.

At 2:54 PM, Blogger Cathy said...

ATTENTION: Lousiana Pet Owners Important Legislation
Senator Fontenot (District 13, Louisiana) is searching for Louisiana evacuees who were not allowed to evacuate with their pets, in order to enlist their help with testifying in support ofupcoming emergency pet evacuation legislation.

The bill is to be introduced on 3/27/06. It will be pre-filed this Friday (3/17/06).

Cathy Wells is the staff member from Sen. Fontenot's office who is collecting statements of affected parties.

Please cross-post and forward this to everyone you know who had to leave their pet(s) behind.

Phone: 225-342-1126
posted by Anita Wollison at 8:34 PM 0 comments links to this post

At 2:45 PM, Blogger Cathy said...

Chopper needs HELP! Please go to this site if you can help this dog. He needs surgery to save his life.

At 1:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am working with an owner whose dog was STOLEN from Lamar-Dixon WHILE she was there attempting to retrieve him! She can describe the person who stole her dog. She has thought about filing a police report because she did not actually authorize anyone to break into her home but is afraid that it might reflect badly on the brave person who rescued her pet, rather than the creep who deprived her family of their cute little dog.

At 6:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before Katrina, I was so pro-rescue. Now I am just disgusted over what some of these groups/shelters have done when it comes to not returning animals. I'm still waiting for one organization to answer my emails that I stared sending on Feb 22 about a dog they rescued from a home, according to a volunteer. They can't be bothered to answer me or call the owners, yet they sent me an email asking for donations to save more dogs. Yeah, right.

At 1:28 AM, Anonymous Barb said...

Where did this all go wrong? Like all of you watching on TV, I was horrified no one was helping these poor helpless animals and then a glimmer of hope that these wonderful animal rescuers were going in to save these pets. These people were my heroes helping these beautiful animals in trouble.
This past six months trying to find and reunite pets certainly has been an eye opener for me and one I won't easily forget.
I never imagined that animal rescue people could be so heartless and judgmental that they would purposely keep pets away from their owners knowing how strong the emotional bond is with our pets. This was a disaster not just strays that rescues have to deal with on a daily basis.
We all heard of them fighting over which cute dogs they wanted to take for themselves. Driving up in vehicles and taking them out of state so they could hide them from ever being found by their owners, adopting them out right away without ever trying to find the owner. Withholding critical information on Petfinder about the found pet. Sadly most there were going through the motions but their hearts were never in to returning these pets to their owners.
I heard and felt the screams of joy and happiness when a lost pet was finally found only to hear the anguish, tears and disbelief when a pet was refused to be returned to the owner. It broke my heart and my spirit. These people who lost everything and went through horrors no person should ever have to see in their lifetime also have to bear for the rest of their life the loss of a beloved pet that they know is out there somewhere and will never be returned to them.
I no longer will be a part to support these rogue rescues who would keep pets from their owners especially in a disaster. They should all be identified publicly so that we can weed them out from the good rescues whose good name needs to be restored.
Someday perhaps some disaster will come to my town or yours and we too could be a victim of this callous attitude that seems to be so widely held in many rescues. Right now I wouldn't trust any of them within a 100 feet of my most valuable treasure.

At 11:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But it wasn't all of us! I was down for 2 months doing rescue and have done Stealth reunites as well. Please don't judge us all based on those that completely screwed things up!

At 3:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the most part the rescuers on the ground were committed to finding owners. Most of the animals got lost from Lamar. Not all but a lot. It was the shelters coming to get animals or having them transported to them that simply used the animals as CASH for PR and didn't respect that these animals had owners desperately searching. Some of the shelters were very good, but some have been very very bad.

At 2:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't someone compiling a list of shelters and groups who knowingly refuse to reunite pets with their families who have actually managed to locate them?

If we start a Letter to the Editor campaign for each one (like we did for Buster) maybe we could get these mean-spirited people to let them go!

And Eric mentioned two other law suits that are pending?

At 5:51 PM, Anonymous Becky said...

I too have cried along with the owners about their lost pets. Especially the wonderful schoolteacher whose dog remained missing through Christmas, that was so hard on both of us; Kitty, the adorable Rottie mix taken from her yard while being fed and cared for only to be lost at Lamar and HSUS refusing to let us see the paperwork on those dogs; Chance, the white male pit bull lost in Lamar (probably one of those stolen), never to see his buddies and family again; and so many more that are just my personal cases. It's really bad, no one here is exaggerating the pain and suffering these shelters and "adoptive families" are causing the owners. Even worse are the dogs who were rescued but no one took care to keep their found information safe so we have all our "needle in a haystack" searches for owners. Wonderful dogs and cats, where you know the owners must be wondering where they are but we can't find them because we don't know anything about where they came from. It's just so hard, and not as many of us left either to do these searches. I for one would not give a dime to anyone other than the shelters that I KNOW have and are doing the right thing, Eric's group, or svlegal's fund for lawyers for these people. This has really opened my eyes, unfortunately I don't think enough people in the general public really understand what's been going on.

At 1:44 PM, Blogger beeleevitonly said...

There are so many pieces to this puzzle of Katrina rescues, where they went, why they went, and why they can't be found. I went to NOLA as a "rogue rescuer" because I didn't belong to any organization, couldn't get accepted as a volunteer without the proper training, but was desperate to help the animal. So, a friend and I drove down and talked with someone from NOLA pet forum on a cell phone until they found us a place that was acknowledging that they needed help. We went back two weeks later, the weekend Lucky 2 was being closed and we went to Rebel Park in SBP. At both places they were scanning for chips, taking pictures, trying to record as much intake information as possible. At Rebel Park they were chipping all of the animals that were shipped out. I don't know if they did that at Camp Lucky or not.
It seems like most of the trouble with tracking the animals came after they left the staging areas or at Lamar Dixon, or after they left there. There should be a list of animals by microchip number for each organization that took them, but as far as I know there is not. One dog I searched for is in the Lamar Dixon records, his picture, his new chip number, his home address, and owner's name. There is no information on when and how he left Lamar Dixon. I believe this tiny Boston Terrier puppy, Ali, was just carried out in the pocket of some person with no conscience, or with the misguided belief that Ali's owners were "bad" for leaving him.
There is no way to change the way people feel, sometimes education helps, or experience, but most of those with such bad opinions of the people of New Orleans do not have the sort of open mind that benefits from education. Thanksfully there are legal options to pursue if the pets are ever located, but some owners just can't do this. Some of them just want to know their pets lived, but even this information is withheld in cases.
What so many people fail to take into account is that most of the damage in NOLA, and loss of life, both human and animal, was due to the flood, not the hurricane. Whether they knew the levees could breach or not, this was not something in the experience of these people, they thought they were evacuating a hurricane, and even if leaving their pets wasn't a good option, they did believe they would be able to go right home within a couple of days.
One of the things that has upset me most is the animals that have been "rescued" from their owners who had returned home, just gone shopping or something, and found their animals gone. One of these is a dog named Fillet who got out of the back yard when power workers knocked down the fence. She was wearing a collar and had some identifiable marks on her feet, but was never posted as found on Petfinder.
Things like this and what happened at Lamar Dixon, the thefts, give animal rescuers all a bad name.
We're not all like that.
And now, the hurricane season approaches, the levees are only patched together. Would anyone like to bet on whether they can contain a huge storm surge?

At 9:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The other side of the coin.... I made 4 trips to NO post Katrina, rescuing, transporting & sheltering animals. I ended up adopting one of the dogs. She is a 2 yr old female, came equipped with 8 puppies, and was picked up 11/26 under a house in NO. Obviously she spent almost 3 months on her own there. She was unspayed & almost end stage heartworm+. I spent 800.00 on heartworm treatment, and almost lost her twice. I still cant have her spayed because of her weakened condition. Did she come from a good home? Would I be happy to send her back? No way. Part of being a pet owner is taking the responsibilty of providing medical care for your pet. Alot of the problems in LA are caused by indiscrimate breeding & lack of heartworm meds. Rich or poor, you have to be able to provide basic needs for your pet, or dont have one.

At 1:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So this dog you have taken, was it listed on Petfinder with a good photo and found location so the owner has at least a chance to locate it's dog? If not, you stole it. Of course you can justify it by saying it wasn't well cared for but that's all you're doing, justifying it. Obviously it's not a perfect world, the dog should have been on heartworm med, but the plain facts are it was someone's dog. Someone who may not have ever been educated about the disease, maybe it was in indoor dog and they assumed it couldn't catch heartworms. Who knows, I sure don't and I doubt you do. As far as not being spayed, there are plenty of pet owners all around you who don't do the right thing and spay/neuter their animals - still doesn't give anyone the right to take and keep the pets. I have a neighbor right now with a beautiful blue pit bull - it's not neutered and that drives me crazy but I'm not going to report him to our animal control, even though I could and he would get fined, because right or wrong, it's his dog. I understand your point, it does drive everyone crazy that these animals aren't all speutered and aren't vaccinated and cared for like we would, but come on, it's not our right to decide they can't have their dog or cat back because they didn't do it. And before you gripe about the $800 you have spent, that again was your choice and I commend you for treating her, I really do. And if you were to find the owner and they wanted her back, fine, ask for reimbursement for her medical costs. Make out a payment plan. But don't just decide she's yours because they were unfit. You wouldn't be able to do that with neighborhood children and we've all seen those, wandering around the park, no parent in sight, but we can't just keep them and you can't just keep the pets either.

At 1:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps I didnt make myself clear enough. I did not "take" the dog from NO., I adopted it through a recognized rescue group. The dog was listed on petfinder & has been since 11/05. I am not griping about the money, I spent 5x that much going back & forth from NO. Your analogy about kids is not correct in my opinion. If I saw a kid being neglected I would call CPS for the childs good, and hopfully the child would be placed in a better environment. LA had no way to rescue & care for the abandoned animals post Katrina, that is why hundreds of us went there and did what we could. Its sad that 6 months later people are doing the monday morning quarterbacking about the way things were handled. Where were you from september to january 2005?

At 3:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sincerely doubt that people with so little regard for their animals well-being would bother recovering them. It's far easier to "get a new one".

Losing a much loved pet to some misguided individual who has judged them harshly based on events beyond their control is unfathomly cruel, intentional or not. AKA kicking a guy while he is down.

There are owners who have relinquished their pets because they loved them and wanted them to have a better life than they could now offer. One did not want to take them back to the place where they almost perished. Another "could never look him in the eye again". For some finding out that their pet is alive and well is more important than recovering them. For others, their pet is a part of them that they feel incomplete without them - they cannot help but continue to look for them.

How ironic that they must also pray for merciful judgement from those same people who had so much kindness to offer their animals.

At 4:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not that I think your 4-5 trips there is any more important than the other contributions people have made by tirelessly searching for owners and/or pets for months now, but yes, I was in New Orleans for a week in early October doing nothing but walk, feed and care for the hundreds of dogs, most of them pits, rescued from the storm. That was something important to the dogs, but so is the time we have spent since, scouring the country for lost or taken pets, negotiating on owners behalf's with judgmental shelters about returning their pets, and assisting the shelters who aren't so judgmental with the thankless job of locating the owners whose pets were rescued without enough care taken to note just a simple thing like the address of a house the animal was removed from, or that there was a collar with tags on it but they were tossed because someone was afraid of the contamination, or the other mindless crap that went on. I'm glad you adopted a dog that was on Petfinders, hopefully with a found location and accurate description and photo of the dog as well, because then at least her true owner had a chance to find their dog. But they should be given every opportunity to reclaim their dog, the ones who truly didn't care about their dogs won't ever be looking for them. Give them all a break and put yourself in their shoes before you judge them. Easy to say they shouldn't adopt a pet without money, but if that were the requirements then there would be thousands more animals put to sleep every year.

And like I said, next time you're back there, do something really brave like confront those idiots with their pit bulls chained and starving in their backyards...those are the truly bad owners.

At 6:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then again, if you do adopt a petwithout the finances to care for them (spay or Neuter), ALOT more pets will be put to sleep. I think I did do something brave by going to NO instead of watching it all on tv. I fed & watered & walked more pitties then I thought existed on the planet. Most of them were unspayed or neutered, we know what they were used for. Unfortunately alot of them were PTS simply because they were bred to fight. I have a 5 yr old pittie girl rescued from a fighter/breeder who I wouldnt return, and I can tell you the fighting dogs in NO werent returned to their "owners" either. You are not saying that dogs with homemade ear crops & scarred up faces should be returned to the people who were using them to make money, are you?

At 7:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course not, I too walked those same pits and it wasn't just pits that weren't neutered, I never saw so many *balls* in my life, on all dogs. Education is a must and so is free spay/neutering, which I'm glad to see is getting started.

But not all the pits who weren't neutered and had cropped ears were *fighting* dogs, many were not in fact. I don't know why people crop ears, or dock tails, but they do and it doesn't mean they're fighting them.

But if you have a dog that was clearly a fighting dog, then of course it shouldn't go back to its owner. But just heartworms is not a reason to condemn the owners, nor is the dog not being fixed a reason. For the most part, even if they weren't *ideal* owners who let their dogs rule the house (as they should, unless cats are involved, in which case dogs always take 2nd fiddle) they are still the ones who are missing their pets, and if they can be found deserve the chance to know their dog is alive, at the very least and have every opportunity to reclaim their dog or cat. So many animals are just gone, and no one knows to what fate either. There are many dogs being turned into shelters now because the warm and fuzzy time has worn off for their "rescuers" and because they never bothered to find the owners, they're just dumping them. None of this is right, and if anyone has these pets that even thinks they are doing the right thing by hiding the animal from their true owner, think again. Most likely you wouldn't even have to make the choice about giving the dog back, many many owners are not in places where they can care for them, many more just want their animal to be safe.

At 9:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally understand what you are saying. Having been there yourself, you know how the situation was. No government, no plan, no shelter, no supplies, no nothing. We chipped & photographed & did intake 18 hrs a day. We slept in places we shouldnt have & dealt with chiggers & snakes & heat & hungar. The people at the Winn Dixie were the hardest workers I have ever seen. By the end of December the state of LA wanted everybody out, but had no plan as to where to shelter the thousands of animals rescued. Yes, they were shipped to shelters & rescue groups all over the country, and yes Im sure paperwork & tracking were lost or misplaced along the way. I am not surprised certain people do not want to return any animal to LA. But, how long are these pets stuck in limbo?The date for retreiving pets has been extended several times. Best Friends took a troop of people to NO to help people locate their pets. I take nothing away from the people trying to help reunite people & pets, but I think we are at a point where it has to be on a one to one basis depending on the circumstances. By the way, in the 4 months I was there I never saw anyone remove a collar with or without tags, and we scanned every dog for microchips. Of the approx. 250 I personally scanned one was chipped, and he was returned to his owner.

At 7:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And like I said, next time you're back there, do something really brave like confront those idiots with their pit bulls chained and starving in their backyards...those are the truly bad owners.

I was, I did, even utilized the Jeff Parish AC. The dogs are still there....chained in the back yard.

At 8:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was, I did, and I still do. Dogs are chained in backyards in every state in the union. By the way, ear cropping & tail docking on pitties is a good indication they are fighting dogs, done so there is less for the other dog to bite into. Surprised you didnt know that.

At 5:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I currently own three dogs. All of them have scars (both emotional and physical) that were inflicted before they came to me. My chow-chow hurtles backwards at the wave of a hand. Took me a year to get her to allow me touch her without cowering, or rolling over and urinating in fear. My terrier was severely kicked in the face shattering teeth and bones. The doggie dental bills were astounding. She's been on easy street for a while but still looks like she's had a hard life. My large mixed breed has battle scars on her face and neck and a large patch of missing hair on her side. After years of regular meals she is no longer food-aggressive but, under duress, would probably revert. These are loved and pampered housepets - I wonder what they'd think about me based on the appearance of my pets. Would I get mine back?

At 12:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think for sure you would, #1 you probably wouldnt have left them in the first place, #2 you wouldnt have waited 7 months to start looking.

At 10:09 AM, Anonymous Pat said...

"Anonymous said...
I think for sure you would, #1 you probably wouldnt have left them in the first place, #2 you wouldnt have waited 7 months to start looking.

12:03 AM"

There's no reasoning with you, you believe you are in the right and you will never budge, I hope that you never take part in another rescue with that sort of attitude. You seem to have some sort of holier than thou god complex.

At 4:05 PM, Anonymous Becky said...

I have to chime in here, about a couple things I've read. I don't for one minute believe there would be any animals to reunite if it hadn't been for the hard and thankless work of the individual rescuers willing to give up their time, money, jobs, etc. to help get these animals to safety - they were true heroes, as well as those working to reunite these lost animals.

BUT there still has to be some accountability here, no one should just "decide" they are or aren't going to reunite an animal because they think their owners were bad. Unless the animal was found padlocked to a chain, then benefit of reuniting should go to the owner. I also think they should have ALL been automatically spayed/neutered as soon as physically healthy enough to do so, regardless of whether the owner approves...that's judgmental I know, and probably wrong too, but that's what I would do if the pet were in my care.

This late in the game, I agree that owners found now, if they weren't already doing whatever they could to find their pet, should be looked into carefully - verify the home, yard check, etc., but at least keep an open mind. Some of these owners have been extremely distressed over personal losses and might be not thinking clearly, but let's not add to their pain by deciding not to even give them a chance. And most of the pets we're searching for, we have been for many many months.

And pit bulls, by the way, aren't automatically fighting dogs just for cropped ears. It's a look, nothing more, and is done to many breeds incl Dobermans. Ask most reputable pit rescue groups, it's a look and we shouldn't be judging owners based on something like that. Scarred up faces, no ears (i.e., ripped off in a fight) are much more telling but even that could have been the dog's prior life before.

The Katrina animals were rescued, plain and simple, the owners deserve to know where their pets are, at a minimum. To me it's kind of like the death penalty, yes, most of the ones convicted are ruthless undeserving of life criminals, but because the system is flawed, and there is the chance an innocent person could die as a result, makes it wrong, no matter how badly some of them deserve to die. That's how I feel about this, even if some of the owners truly are "bad" owners, by withholding someone's treasured pet you are being judge and jury over them all, yet without even having all the facts presented.

But, the reality is the shelters and rescuers who have taken these pets and deliberately withheld them from being found are probably not reading this, and likely are so hard-core biased against the owners, it wouldn't make a difference if they did read this. Let's just hope we can make changes so this never happens again!

At 1:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In late march I found the owner of a hurricane displaced pet. She wept with relief that her pet had been found then said she felt tremendously guilty about not being able to look for her dog.
Q - Why was she not looking for her pet?
A - She was too busy looking for her missing 17 year old son.

She had only just located him, he was not yet home but she had spoken on the phone with him.

Yes, some things ARE more important than pets.

At 3:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a rescuer who went 2 seperate times to NOLA once weeklong stay at Lamar-Dixon and once to HumaneLA I was once one of the ones who thought the animals should never be returned to their owners because they had left them behind.

It took the family of the 10 yr old blind golden that I took from the heat and hell of Lamar-Dixon to change my mind. Bruce was NOT left behind...his daddy died in the storm to keep him safe! The owner had 2 dogs that didn't get along and he chose to risk his own life to stay behind to keep them safe and sadly he suffered a heart attack and died (the other dog drowned). His home was not searched and he laid there for 3 weeks until one of his daughters broke in and found him with Bruce laying by his side. As she panicked Bruce got out and was taken to Lamar-Dixon where he was shoved in a crate in hell beside aggressive dogs who wanted to kill him. Thank God my group arrived that very day and saw him or he too may have been lost in the system like many of the others. I brought him and 2 others back the first trip....2 owner matches of the 3. 1 went back to his owners now relocated and Bruce stayed with us as his owners felt it was better for him. All they really wanted to know for sure was if he was alright...he was all they had left of their father and they were worried about him after hearing horror stories of Lamar-Dixon.

I worked with Stealth for awhile reuniting pets and ran across an elderly lady who was trapped in her attic for 6 days with her dogs and cats and finally swam out for help. Of course they wouldn't let her return for her pets. We tracked down some of the animals finally only to find out the group who took 2 of the cats (a big group who got paid lots of $$$$ for them) DIDN'T want owner reunites and prefered to PTS the cats or adopt them out without posting them or answering calls/email about them. All this lady wanted was her cats back...she lost her home and some of her pets in NOLA now she lost her others to a system that didn't care about her or any of the other owners.

I met many rescues/individuals down in NOLA which I would hesitate to ever be associated with again but yet I met many others like myself who dropped everything to go down and do what they/we could to help the animals and who wanted more than anything to get the pets back home to their families where they belonged.

I also brought back 2 adult pits from HumaneLA. 1 (Me-moo) was in end stage heartworm and I lost her to the treatment. She was left behind by her owners and survived 41 days without food/water tied up in a bathroom to the doorknob. I also found her owners who knew she was alive (and HW+) and after going back for their own stuff multiple times decided to surrender her to DARR instead of getting her out of the bathroom she was trapped in. Would I have returned her to them? I don't know...her death prevented me from having to make that decision. The other pitty is now being treated for lymphoma cancer of the owner has shown up for her yet. The 6 pups and 2 kittens I brought back were all owner surrenders and have been adopted into new loving homes which will cherish them forever.

I personally would not leave my pets behind but that is who I am and how I was raised. That is why I run a rescue.... Yes, many of the animals in NOLA were poorly treated by their owners but many more were well loved family memebers and all their owners want is to find them again and know they are alive. How much is that to ask?

Lost Fantasy Rescue

At 10:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Katrina family finally reunited
Plenty of help needed for golden retriever to get to Columbus

Saturday, May 06, 2006
Kevin Kidder

The Watts family, clockwise from upper left, Andrew, 6, Matthew, 8, mom Bridget, Jared, 10, Luke, 12, Jennah, 2, Jules, 5, and Judah, 5, greet their golden retriever, Gideon, at a cargo facility at Port Columbus, ending an eightmonth separation since the family fled New Orleans.

The golden retriever had spent two months outside his New Orleans home before rescuers found him.

They left behind a message so the Watts family, who had fled the home after Hurricane Katrina, would know that Gideon was alive.

Spray-painted on the front: "Found pet under house."

That’s where Gideon usually went if there was a thunderstorm, said 12-year-old Luke Watts.

So Jay and Bridget Watts and their seven children knew the dog was safe when they finally returned in November to gather items from the home. They just didn’t know where rescuers had taken him.

After months spent tracking down their dog and arguing with a pet-rescue group from California, the family was reunited with its canine member late Thursday.

The dog was flown to Columbus, where the Watts family relocated after evacuating New Orleans.

"Wow, look at him. He’s husky! " said Mr. Watts, as all of the children gathered around the enormous crate the dog had arrived in at Continental Cargo near Port Columbus.

"Look at Gideon," Mrs. Watts cooed. "He’s back!"

The kids crowded the crate’s door, trying to open it.

When they did, Gideon leaped out and sprawled on the concrete floor, while everyone crowded around to pet him.

But Thursday night’s reunion nearly didn’t happen.

When Mr. and Mrs. Watts and their children were ordered to leave New Orleans last August, they thought they would be back home in a matter of days.

Mrs. Watts set out two days’ worth of food for Gideon, who lived in the backyard and had a shed for shelter.

But once New Orleans’ levees broke, the family couldn’t return, even though the Watts home, on a hill, hadn’t flooded.

So Mrs. Watts posted a plea for Gideon to be rescued on a pet-finder Web site.

Janet Taylor, a Palos Verdes, Calif., resident who works with Stealth Volunteers, remembers the convoy of 40 dogs from Louisiana that arrived on Oct. 7 in Los Angeles. Gideon was among them and was turned over to A Dog’s Life Rescue for care.

Meanwhile, Taylor made it her mission to find his owners.

She first tracked down who had lived in the New Orleans home where Gideon was found, then found that the Wattses had moved to Columbus.

But the Dog’s Life group in Los Angeles wasn’t willing to give him up.

Mrs. Watts said she faxed the group documentation and a picture to show they owned the dog to no avail.

"They were talking adoption already. To me, the purpose of taking them (the animals) out of Louisiana was to get them back to their families," Taylor said.

A representative with A Dog’s Life didn’t return calls yesterday.

Taylor said the group claimed Gideon hadn’t been well-cared for because he was found with heartworm disease and was malnourished.

Mrs. Watts said that’s not surprising because he was living on his own, in a flooded area that was teeming with mosquitoes. Heartworm is transmitted through mosquitoes.

For months, it was unclear where A Dog’s Life was keeping Gideon.

Then, this past Sunday, Taylor got a tip. She drove two hours from her home to the Canine Adoption and Rescue League in Ventura County, Calif. Along the way, she called the sheriff.

Two deputies showed up, which is all it took to have Gideon turned over to Taylor, the Ventura County sheriff’s office said.

"They (the adoption league) had no idea that Gideon was being hidden there," Taylor said. "They were pawns."

Taylor said the sheriff’s office was quick to help when a scan of Gideon read an implanted microchip that showed he belonged to the Watts family.

The next day, she plunked down $250 to buy Gideon a ticket to Columbus.

As they relaxed last night at their Northwest Side home, the Watts family said they are thrilled to have their dog back.

"I never actually thought I’d be part of something like this," said Mrs. Watts, who said she hopes other Katrina evacuees find their lost pets.

"There is hope."

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At 1:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in New Orleans and wanted to give you a heads up.

People have heard about your group and have started using it as a scam. People are now using it as a way to get pets that have been adopted locally and then go witj the police to the house and demand the pet. Once they have the pet in their possesion they leave but call later to ask if the adopter would like to buy the animal back. They drag this on for a few days asking for more money.

Several of the instances have even gone through your group and others simply use the Stealth Rescue name but have pictures internet possibly from your site.

I realize you don't want to intentionally help people scam those who have adopted pets but realize that this is something that is growing in the city and you should figure out how to stop it since you got it started.

Thank you

At 1:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry about the few grammer errors but i have been up all day and it is late.
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