Sunday, April 16, 2006

Why?

My name is John. I am a former resident of the now devastated
St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana and I am here to ask you to pass the Pet
Evacuation Bill so that when there is another disaster, our pets can
travel safely with us to designated shelters and not be left behind to
perish because of lack of proper emergency planning.

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed Southeast Louisiana
turning St. Bernard Parish into a waterlogged marshland. A very large
percentage of our residents did not evacuate to shelters outside the
parish because we did not want to leave our pets behind and we were
told we could not evacuate with them.

To give you a brief background of my medical situation at the time, I
had just been released from the hospital and couldn't drive because of
my medical condition. The other occupant of my home, my elderly
father, is no longer licensed to drive. I had been disabled for three
months and was without the income to even fill my vehicle with
gasoline, let alone charter a vehicle to transport my family and pets.
Obviously, public transportation was not a pet-friendly option. Later
I came to find that although some generous gas companies were offering
free fuel, this was not widely known nor broadcast through the media.
This was simply not a known alternative that I was aware of. It seems
that this was yet another flaw of the emergency broadcast system.

My 2 and 1/2 year old black lab, Angel Girl, was a hero who saved the
lives of myself and my family. If she had not woken me from my sleep,
my family would've drowned. The water was over the roof when she led
us out the door.

After the levee breach, my father, sister and my nephew's girlfriend
were rescued from the roof of our home in Violet, LA by boat thanks to
brave St. Bernard residents who took us to the school evacuation
shelter at St. Bernard High School. My brother-in-law and nephew
stayed behind with four dogs and eight birds.

That Tuesday night, my brother-in-law, Gene, and his son, Robert
Christopher, along with our family's four dogs: Angel Girl, Bullet,
Daisy, and Honey were transported by boat to PGT Beauregard Middle
School. Gene saw other dogs and cats at that school and thought that
was where all the pets were being safely kept until the water went
down. The next day, Wednesday, St. Bernard Sheriffs Office Deputies
ordered everyone to leave the school. We were forbidden from taking
our pets with us. When we asked about our pets, a St. Bernard Sheriffs
Office Deputy assured us "your pets will be rescued." To ensure their
safety, I wrote a note on the wall of the school pleading for Angel's
safekeeping. I wrote "she is a good girl." Others wrote similar
messages, indicating our home addresses and contact information in the
hope that the Deputy's word would be kept and our pets would be
transported to animal rescue authorities.

One week after Hurricane Rita, my sister, Carol, her family, and I
were in a hotel after evacuating again due to Hurricane Rita. I
received a phone call from a dear friend that was searching for Angel
advising me to watch the CNN broadcast news that evening at 10:00 pm.
We turned on the TV and witnessed Anderson Cooper break the story
entitled "Dog Killings at Three St. Bernard Parish Schools." The first
room the camera crew entered and filmed was room 203 at PGT Beauregard
Middle School. What we observed was beyond devastating. They camera
followed as rescue teams opened the door, showing the first dog, my
sister's husky mix, Bullet. Bullet had not been rescued as promised.
Bullet was dead. In the next room, the camera showed my Angel Girl and
Honey, also shot to death.

PLEASE SEE THE STORY CONTINUED IN THE FIRST COMMENT. JUST CLICK COMMENTS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST.

24 Comments:

At 11:10 AM, Blogger EricsDogBlog.com said...

The following Saturday, my sister Carol, her husband, Gene Hamm, and
myself drove back to St. Bernard parish for the first time following
Katrina. Our first stop was PGT Beauregard Middle School. When we
arrived at the school we went to the room where Gene was forced our
lovable dogs. The sight was beyond words, beyond understanding, beyond
my worst nightmares. When I saw my beloved Angel lying in a pool of
her blood I knelt down beside her and started crying. I asked out loud
"Why did this happen and who did it?!" I was kneeling in her blood and
I was telling her I was sorry that I was forced to leave her. Carol
and Gene were with Bullet and were talking to him. As we were getting
ready to leave the school, I kissed Angel on her forehead and told her
that I was sorry I couldn't rescue her. I still have nightmares about
what happened and I picture this all too often in my head. I still lay
awake at night crying because Angel Girl was all I had.

This bill must be passed so that our pets can be rescued alongside
their human family members and not be sentenced to death unnecessarily
by unprepared law enforcement agents or people who do not like pets
nor understand the family bonds that keep us close to them. Also, the
bill will ensure that well-meaning rescuers will not misplace our pets
in other states where name tags and other important information have
gone missing during the chaos of emergency rescue situations.

Before I close, I would like to call attention to the three empty
leashes that I am carrying today. They represent my family's three
dogs that were killed in St. Bernard Parish. It is for the love of
these dogs, for the love of my family, that I am here today.

Thank for your time. I only hope that this Senate panel, in your
wisdom, will make sure that nobody has to go through what the pet
owners of Louisiana have gone through following a future natural
disaster.

 
At 12:23 AM, Anonymous Janet said...

John,
I am one of the many many people
who spent many hours online and on
the phone trying to reunite pets
with families or help familes find
their pets. I know of the shootings
at the schools and have seen the
pictures and the cnn video of the
aftermath. Words can not express how much grief we all feel for you
and all the families who were told
that your pets would be rescued only to come back and find that they were brutally murdered. I pray for you all that there come a day that you know your pets are in heaven and that you will someday see them again. I am so so sorry.
Know that many many people have cried with you and all the others.
PLEASE consider sending your letter
to different newspapers and newsprograms like CNN and FOX and others. They did quite a bit of coverage on the pets being saved
and as I mentioned CNN did go there
and film what they saw. I do believe there is or was an ongoing
investigation on who they believe
is responsible for these shootings.
Please see if you can contact the
state attorneys office to see who
that would be and offer whatever statements they may need for their
case against these horrible people
that committed those horrible acts.
Again, please know that I send you
many prayers and that there are so
many people that grieve with you.
Janet

 
At 12:23 AM, Anonymous Janet said...

John,
I am one of the many many people
who spent many hours online and on
the phone trying to reunite pets
with families or help familes find
their pets. I know of the shootings
at the schools and have seen the
pictures and the cnn video of the
aftermath. Words can not express how much grief we all feel for you
and all the families who were told
that your pets would be rescued only to come back and find that they were brutally murdered. I pray for you all that there come a day that you know your pets are in heaven and that you will someday see them again. I am so so sorry.
Know that many many people have cried with you and all the others.
PLEASE consider sending your letter
to different newspapers and newsprograms like CNN and FOX and others. They did quite a bit of coverage on the pets being saved
and as I mentioned CNN did go there
and film what they saw. I do believe there is or was an ongoing
investigation on who they believe
is responsible for these shootings.
Please see if you can contact the
state attorneys office to see who
that would be and offer whatever statements they may need for their
case against these horrible people
that committed those horrible acts.
Again, please know that I send you
many prayers and that there are so
many people that grieve with you.
Janet

 
At 1:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

John,

I hope that you will be able to find some justice for all of your angels. I am sorry for your loss and know that many of us have cried with you and are doing whatever we can to help make things better for the future.

Evelyn

 
At 12:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a person who is especially fond of dogs in general and labs in particular, your story struck a nerve. Please know that Angel Girl's concern for you was probably greater than her concern for herself. Knowing that she had gotten you to safety would have been a great source of pride and comfort to your sweet good dog.

Were the your forth dog and the birds rescued?

I hope and pray that the perpetrators of this gross injustice are caught and that an example be made of them. Seeing that thug in uniform Minton shooting someone elses lovely friendly pets was the most upsetting and shocking experience I have ever had - it broke my heart and disolved my trust. I cannot imagine what it must be like to wonder which of the local police are capable of such cruelty and to look at each face thinking "Is he the one?" must be a waking nightmare.

My heartfelt condolences for your family's loss.

I picture your lovely Angel Girl with a Halo, greeting and comforting Katrina's lost ones with that generosity of spirit that the labrador is so famous for.

There is a wonderful website http://www.petloss.com that offers grief counselling, gives you the opportunity to leave a tribute to your pets who have gone over the rainbow bridge, where you can ask for prayers for sick pets etc. It helped me deal with the loss of my own lab shortly before Katrina hit. I share your pain of loss but I cannot begin to imagine the additional pain of being deceived and the guilt you must feel for making decisions no-one should ever be forced to make.

Thank you for being the strong man that you are, for sharing your story, for embracing a cause that will benefit others and spare all of us the agony to which you were subjected. Angel Girl would be so proud of you.

 
At 4:18 PM, Anonymous JenaS62 said...

John,

I too am the owner of 4 dogs - one of them a fat yellow lab by the name of Boomer. When the story about the shootings at PGT Beauregard Middle School broke - I forced myself to look at the pictures. I lost many nights of sleep and shed many tears for those babies left behind.

What I found very frustrating was that the story did not seem to make national news, other than the CNN story. If more people knew what happened there - more probably would have been done.

I have signed petitions and written to my state representatives (Florida) regarding pet evacuations. Obviously in this state, this is something that is very important.

I am not a religious person - but if there is a God - I hope he eases your suffering and watches over those darling babies who were killed in that school.

 
At 3:47 PM, Blogger Cathy said...

Dear John,
I have followed the school shooting story from the begining. I can't tell you how many nights I have laid awake crying for the sweet souls killed by sadists. The investigation was aided by PASEDOS and their web site has updates and actions to be taken. I too have signed petitions and written letter after letter demanding justice for these precious pets. I have labs and I know your Angel is waiting for you by the Rainbow Bridge.
May you find comfort knowing she runs free and watches over you you.
Cathy

 
At 5:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"John,

I hope that you will be able to find some justice for all of your angels. I am sorry for your loss and know that many of us have cried with you and are doing whatever we can to help make things better for the future.

Evelyn"

I couldn't have said this better myself.

The people who did this (and it's looking like it was the law officers themselves who did the shooting) are evil and will get what's coming to them. How anyone could do this to pets/family members is beyond me. But from what I read at the Pasado's website there are suspects that have been identified.

If you go to their site I believe there is a link to an on-line petition or something of the sort to get your voice heard. I know I won't rest until this is brought to light and know it will never happen again.

Joe

 
At 12:59 PM, Blogger Josie said...

I've been trying to follow this case from Fl have some names and numbers that you guys might be interested in. The lead investigator in thhis case is Mark Steinway. There is a reporter at the Times-Picayune that is interested in this case her name is Sandra Barbier, e-mail address is sbarier@timespicayun.com. There are also the phone number for the Assos Press in LA. is 504-523-3963 and 504-523-3931 in case you like to call them to encourage more coverage on this case. I have sent Sandy letters,reports,and videos for the case.
My heart gos out to all those who lost their fur babies. May God give you comfort and peace.
Josie

 
At 12:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess I should comment that these shootings have haunted so many people. The first ones I heard about were the Acevado dogs at Sebastian Roy. The the PGT Beauregard and then St. Bernard High School. I have seen several collections of photos taken by different photographers and they are beyond horrifying. And I also want to include the dogs shot in the street by St. Bernard Parish deputies in the weeks after the storm, so many that the Fayette Review reported that another sheriffs dept had to send them more ammo as they had used it all up on people's pets. Amazing to run out of ammo in a deserted town. I remember a post on the St. Bernard section of nola.com where a poster said he had seen a deputy empty a whole magazine into someone's dog. I don't want to offend anyone by talking about it but we need never to forget. Though not able to actually go to New Orleans, I lived, ate, slept and breathed this tragedy for months. I know that justice will be done, if not in this world, than in the next. I am so sorry for these animals, and for people like John that had to endure the pain of this loss after already having lost everything. I saw posts from a voluteer trying to help John find Angel in the days after the storm posted over and over on nola.com. I still don't understand why the St. Bernard High School dogs were not removed by the Oregon Humane Society when they were there.

I know the whole animal rescue community was overwhelmed, and John is right, we can't let this happen again.

 
At 8:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

if there are those that witnessed these dog killings and know who these thugs are why aren't they helping by speaking up and naming names and helping Pasado bring justice to these families.

 
At 9:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

John

I found this on another forum.

This producer is looking for Hurricane Katrina stories especially ones about the shootings. In honor and memory
of Angel and all the others this
story needs to be told and never forgotten...maybe this will serve
that purpose.
===================================

"New Orleans Story" is a feature documentary film regarding Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. We are seeking stories, photographs and video of animals during katrina and animal rescue. We also have a need for information and photographs regarding dogs allegedly shot in St. Bernard and in other areas. Please reach executive producer/director Stephen Rue at StephenRRue@aol.com.
Thank you. www.NewOrleansStory.com
You can also check out New Orleans Story by searching the database at www.IMDB.com
StephenRRue@aol.com

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

Re: SBP shootings...

I believe one of the reasons people are reluctant to come forward is ~fear of retaliation~ which IF the shooters are individuals in power & authority is a very real concern!! From what I've heard about this Parish, "the good ole boys still rule"... If they are capable of massacring citizens's pets in cold blood, they are obviously a grave danger to the entire community. (Prisons are full of sick individuals who started as animal abusers BEFORE they moved on to bigger targets!!) These unfortunate victims who live in SBP have families & jobs to consider, and sadly I can understand their hesitation.... Can they be SURE there will be someone to protect them?! YET, it's imperative that the perpetrators be brought to justice and the sweet babies never be forgotten...

 
At 6:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have seen footage that nobody has seen because it has not been released. The AG has it. It will be in a documentary. It is Sheriffs deputies baiting over friendly dogs and popping them as they came over instead of offering them a kind hand. THIS WAS WHEN THERE WERE STILL PEOPLE TRAPPED IN ATICS AND ON ROOFS. It was systematic and appeared ordered. It is one of the most cruel things I have ever seen. I hope the ones I saw rot in hell. They could have been out saving more people. I want to be clear that I am sure the majority of the officers in St. B were more worried about saving people than animals and I hope to God it was a small group. They have some horrible bad eggs in the bunch and should clean house.

 
At 6:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone that could do that is just sick, sick, sick. I was down and those dogs were scared and confused and just wanted the help of any human who showed them an ounce of kindness. I had 80 lbs Pit Bull lick my face with joy as I rescued them from behind closed doors. I saw big dogs protecting little dogs. And to have these assholes blowing them away just goes to show the mentality in that Sherrifs department. THE SHERIIF DID KNOW THIS WAS GOING ON and any rational sane man would have skun his men alive and stopped it. But no. He has hidden the truth.

 
At 8:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder how Sheriff Stephens and
his family can look at themselves
in the mirror and sleep at night
knowing what these deviant public
servants, under his watch and command, did to these families.

He(Stephens) and his posse of
mindless, spineless cowards and
renegades are a disgrace to SBP
and it's good citizens.

Until this matter is brought to justice it will forever taint
the image of SBP and Louisiana.

 
At 12:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First off: That's horrible what those deputies did at the school. I had not heard that story before, and I can't begin to visualize the scene.

That having been said, the logistics alone of trying to transport four dogs and eight birds, plus the pets of other evacuees is mind boggling. I'm not prepared to support a situation that would give seating to a pet on a bus or boat and thus take away a potential spot for someone else who is in need.

I don't know your transportation situation from that days, but if it was like others it was probably crammed with very little room for personal artifacts. Add into the mix potential pets and this becomes even more messed up and confusing than it already was.

Now a bill banning what those deputies did on the other hand....

I'm sure that if they had called the humane society and told them that there were a ton of animals in these schools, they would have taken care of supplying food and water.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that there is middle ground here between mandating that pets have to be left behind and saying that they have to be evacuated with the owner.

 
At 12:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First off: That's horrible what those deputies did at the school. I had not heard that story before, and I can't begin to visualize the scene.

That having been said, the logistics alone of trying to transport four dogs and eight birds, plus the pets of other evacuees is mind boggling. I'm not prepared to support a situation that would give seating to a pet on a bus or boat and thus take away a potential spot for someone else who is in need.

I don't know your transportation situation from that days, but if it was like others it was probably crammed with very little room for personal artifacts. Add into the mix potential pets and this becomes even more messed up and confusing than it already was.

Now a bill banning what those deputies did on the other hand....

I'm sure that if they had called the humane society and told them that there were a ton of animals in these schools, they would have taken care of supplying food and water.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that there is middle ground here between mandating that pets have to be left behind and saying that they have to be evacuated with the owner.

 
At 11:01 PM, Blogger yahn said...

John-

Check into Sgt. MIke Minton, he was filmed on the Dallas news shooting dogs in the streets. He shot a lab and I cried and cried. I didn't even think that was America. Please find out if it was the cops that did that.

 
At 11:02 PM, Anonymous yahnw said...

John-

Please look into Sgt. Mike Minton, he was filmed shooting dogs on the streets, it was horrible. I would not be surprised if he shot the dogs at the school. My heart broke for you and those poor animals. They were idiots that shot those dogs.

 
At 6:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your website. It has a lot of great pictures and is very informative.
»

 
At 12:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear John,

I am so sorry about the tragic loss of your dogs during Katrina at the hands of the tyrants at SBPSD. These beasts should hope that one day they aren't hunted down and shot in the same fashion as were these poor defenseless animals who didn't deserve to die! It literally infuriates me to know that those who chose to PROTECT AND SERVE...which was the SBPSD's famed motto...failed to PROTECT AND SERVE those who needed them most. Namely the dogs, cats, pigs, ferrets, birds, who didn't ask to die in such a cruel fashion. These assign individuals will one day be brought to justice and I hope it is very soon. I am very ashamed to say that I resided in SBP for over 30 years! How could Jack Stephens allow such an atrocity to happen? Not only on the poor animals who were victims of Katrina as were their human counterparts. I think it is pitiful that these law enforcement officers who call themselves "men" can live with themselves after committing such heinous acts on creatures that are man's best friends. If justice isn't served on this PLANET EARTH....I do hope these barbarians get their just desserts in the world beyond this one..where GOD RULES and SBPSD has no control whatsoever.

Enough with anger here. I also want to say to you that you have my deepest sympathies, John, for both you and your family. I pray in time that you will find peace and comfort with the loss that has so left your family desolate. I know how you feel in a way. Because I too lost my two dogs in Katrina. I've yet to find their whereabouts. It concerns me greatly that my two babies didn't meet the same horrible fate as did your's. I pray that my two dogs are safe and alive somewhere. I am determined to find their location and know that they are well. Please pray for me and my mother that we find our two dogs who are named Little Sister and Sugarpuss. We called them Sissie and Sugie for short. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

I will close this message by saying, God Bless You and your father, as well as the memory of your beloved dogs. Please know my sincerest condolences and regards go with this.

J.S. and A.S.- Survivors of Katrina - 2005

P.S. Also pray for the soul of my youngest brother J.J.S., who drowned in Katrina, he is sadly missed by us all.....

 
At 10:59 PM, Anonymous ninth ward rescuer said...

Ceily Trog, why do you not look at your own police department. I met you., the day you came back to your parrish. I had been there 3 weeks. You had just came home. Remeber? Red Dog Salon? We were trying to rescue a poodle. You were needed our help. So, was Richard,your assistant.
You really needed help then.
Ceily, I asked you for dog food and cat food for a family in S. St. Bearnard Parrish,that rode out the storm ,lost everything,saved many of their neighbors pets. They did not have a phone,car,bike,scoter,plane,c.b. or balloon,to get to you to tell you they needed help.
You told me they had to contact you for supplies,How?
They had me.
Ceily,this is six weeks after the storm.
I went to the Winn Dix shelter and they loaded us up with everything we needed for our friends in the outer areas.
I was the one that rescued the ostrich,fromparrish ,from the senior home,that he let all parrish.
Ceily,I hope you read this and think about who wrote it. It might jog your memory,on the truth

 
At 7:57 AM, Blogger melloman said...

Hi all
It is a good idea to start using enviromentally safe and animal friendly (non-toxic) substitutes when grooming your dog. You must groom your dog's whole body including the legs, tail and underbody if you want to do it right. You must groom certain dogs from the skin outward to truly be effective in taking care of their coat of hair and keeping it healthy. Comb through the unseen healthy hair and remove the shedding hair; this is what most groomers do first before cutting your pet's coat. You must groom some animals all at once, while some other animals have so much hair that it is easier to do a little at a time each day.
http://www.pet-grooming-boarding.info/

 

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