Saturday, November 04, 2006

Where is Hunter?

Readers: It has been a busy Fall for me and you see that my posts have fallen off. Please keep checking back as I will be updating the blog more often after the first of the year. If you have or have not been here you can spend hours on the blog recounting the first days of Katrina (by scrolling all the way to the bottom). It reads in almost "book like" fashion by starting with the very first post. You can watch the videos on the right side of the blog, and many within the text of the blog.

Here is the recent and shameful story of Hunter and peoples hinderance of his return to his owner. Hunter is a service dog. Folks, until you have seen it first hand you simply can't understand what it was like to have 15-25 ft of water quickly flood your home. The only mistake these animals owners made was not leaving, and I have made far greater mistakes than that in my life and so has everyone who is holding these dogs up from their owners. I do not believe every dog needs to go home here two years past Katrina. But read this story and you will understand why I think this one does. Any authority with an ounce of compassion would have helped this person get out of St. Bernard Parish with her dog. They are lucky it is not my dog.

Kristin M. Thomas
Senior Writer
Capital City Free Press

When Hurricane Katrina struck St. Bernard Parish in Louisiana, Fay was stranded at home. She had no transportation and parish officials did not provide evacuation services for her and Hunter, even though she is disabled and he is her service dog. Hunter had identification tags on his collar and was implanted with a microchip, as is the standard practice for all registered aid dogs.

Fay and Hunter survived the hurricane and flooded nightmarish aftermath in their apartment with no assistance from the local government. It was only after a concerned neighbor called parish authorities from his cell phone did help finally come for her. Rescue and relief was what these authorities were supposed to bring with them but in reality they only brought her brutality and heartache.

Instead of being Fay's saviors these men, who showed no identification, told her she could not take her service dog with her. When she refused to leave without Hunter, they forcibly dragged her from her residence. Fay had already put Hunter on his leash in preparation for transportation to safety and had securely wrapped the other end of the leash around her arm. Once in the boat and nearing Beauregard school, the "rescuers" unhooked Hunter from his leash and dumped him off at the steps. Hunter, wanting to protect his charge, tried to jump back into the boat while Fay was trying to escape from her captors and save the dog that had been more than just a friend to her.

These men proceeded to brutalize this disabled woman by handcuffing her and then pinning her to the bottom of the boat by her chest. All the while, Hunter who was dedicated to his master, swam after the boat in an effort to accompany his charge, but every time he approached, the men would throw him back.

Technically, a case could be made that Fay was kidnapped. She was taken against her will and brutalized by individuals who were supposed to be providing aid. Sadly, this story is an all too common one in St. Bernard Parish and allegedly several officials from this particular parish are responsible for the worst examples of cruelty, inhumanity and misuse of power to come out of this crisis.

There is a constitutional right in this country to not be forced from your home, and it is just equally applicable in a natural disaster as it is in every day life. Likewise, not only was it her right to have Hunter accompany her to safety, it was imperative for sustaining her quality of life. None of these inalienable rights were taken into consideration in the days after the hurricane for many, including Fay and Hunter.

The last time Fay saw Hunter he was frantically doggie paddling after the boat she was being abducted in. Fay started looking for Hunter immediately. Over a year later, Fay is still committed to finding him.

Fay's case has been adopted by the Stealth Volunteers and they are now helping to reunite Hunter and Fay. According to the volunteer on the case, some of the animal shelters, such as the St. Bernard Parish Animal Shelter, have been helpful. Others have not been so forthcoming with information and in some cases have hindered her progress in her quest to find her best friend and service dog.

There is a possibility that Hunter has been located. Unfortunately, the shelter who adopted him out refuses to release the file on the dog in question until ordered to do so by a court of law. In correspondence to a Stealth Volunteer working on Hunter's case, the director of Marin Humane Society in Novato, Calif., Dianne Allevato, admits, “I met today with the guardian of the dog in question. Hunter may be the same dog that she adopted. It isn't clear.“ Yet, repeated requests to scan the animal in question for a matching microchip or releasing his file have been flatly denied. Hunter has been adopted out, and it appears that a legal action may be her only recourse.

What can be done?
First and foremost, you can e-mail Diane Allevato daily at concerning her refusal to see if the dog in question is Hunter. Secondly, if you know a California lawyer willing to help Fay obtain a court order - pro bono - have them contact me:

If you have information about Hunter email:

Hunters’ Description:
Microchip ID # 453C165E18
Hunter is a neutered male, long-nosed Pekinese mix, long body, short bowed front legs, front feet and elbows stick out, always smiling, 25 lbs. Hunter is black with brown paws. He has a curled fluffy tail. Hunter was last seen at 1979 Sugarmill in lower St. Bernard. For more information, please visit If you have any information on Hunter please call 504.418.3734 or St. Bernard Parish Animal Control 504.228.1093 or email


At 8:37 PM, Blogger Jane Carpenter said...

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At 8:28 PM, Blogger Bill Harrison said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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At 9:00 PM, Blogger Bill Harrison said...

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At 11:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

any news updates about Tammy Grimes?

At 4:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: Tammy Grimes

Last update on the Dogs Deserve Better site states that the next court date is November 27th, however that is a minor affair that only the lawyers need attend. They will post when they have a date for the next court date/rally.

Dogs Deserve Better is also pushing to get the original owners of Doogie charged with animal cruelty. As the vet has confirmed cruelty by the owners, they should be charged, yet have not been.

Update as of October 18th stated that Doogie was doing well for his age and condition, and is walking a bit. There are some updated videos available at the site listed above.


At 1:55 PM, Anonymous George said...

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You must groom certain pets 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 esier to do a little at a time each day. You know your pet is well mannerd when it will sit still and alow you or a professional to perform regular grooming and maintenence without any fuss. If you feel you just don't have the time or desire to do it yourself, its time to call the professionals. Your dog will love you for it, and you'll feel great about it too. Hope this was helpful.

You can get more pet grooming tips by visiting my site at

At 7:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Animal Rescue New Orleans is once again in dire need of food and money. Please consider making a donation at

At 7:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have bad fingers tonight...

Corrected link follows:

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

7 News Features
Air Date: Thursday, November 2, 2006
Email this article to a friend email this article to a friend Watch the video. Watch the video

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Dog Gone

Imagine having to give away your dog or cat to a stranger. Tonight, families nationwide are being sued over their best friend. But these aren't ordinary animals. They actually once belonged to Hurricane Katrina victims who lost their pets in last year's flood. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero has more in tonight's Special Assignment Report -- Dog Gone.
Reported by:

Carmel Cafiero

View all archived
7 News Features reports

WSVN -- The only thing that comes close to the human suffering after new orleans flooded - is the suffering of thousands of animals. The profound loss even continues today.

Entire communities remain ghost towns with spray paint reminders of the grim searches for people and their pets.

Fay Bourg: "But they don't realize when you get 15 feet of water coming at you, you have nowhere else to go. Either you're going to jump, or you're going to drown."

Fay Bourg lives in St. Bernard Parish, just outside New Orleans. This is the way it looked weeks after Katrina.

This is the way it looks today.

Fay lost everything in the flood, including her dog, Hunter. She says a rescuer threw him out of the boat. She jumped in after him but was pulled back and handcuffed. The last time she saw Hunter, he was paddling behind the boat.

Fay Bourg: "Like, 'Why are you leaving me?' I tried. I tried so hard to get him back."

So imagine how thrilled she was when she and her cousin Heidi Guerra discovered Hunter had been saved and taken to California.

Heidi Guerra: "We have been searching for over a year for him."

But there's no happy ending here. At least, there is no happy ending yet. The agency that rescued him says the dog was adopted, and it's up to the new owner to decide if Hunter will be returned.

Heidi Guerra: "And for them to sit back and say, 'I'm not giving him back,' is cruel."

And there may be hundreds of other hurricane victims in the same situation. Activists and attornies are now helping some original owners file lawsuits across the country.

Pam Bondi: "Hi, baby boy. You're beautiful."

Tampa prosecutor Pam Bondi has refused to return her rescued Saint Bernard.

Pam Bondi: "I promised that I would never let anything bad happen to him again. And I would care for him and protect him for the rest of his life. That's what I plan on doing."

But Steve and Doreen Couture, who are raising their orphaned grandchildren, say the dog belongs to them.

They say they want him back and have filed a lawsuit.

Steven Couture: "Whatever it takes, the Governor Jeb Bush, if that's what it takes, I will put legal action against him."

Army Lieutenant Jay Johnson was in Iraq when he learned the levee in New Orleans' Ninth Ward had collapsed.

Lt. Jay Johnson: "I knew my house was under water."

His family survived, but his dog Missy had been left behind. After a year of searching, he found her on the internet.

But he says the Texas agency that had her won't tell him where she is today.

Lt. Jay Johnson: "And she's like, 'Leave the dog alone, find you a new dog, you know. Go on with your life. Things have changed. Move on.'"

Coral Springs attorney Steve Wise represents Johnson who is suing to get Missy back.

He believes the lawsuits over Katrina will eventually lead to new legislation.

Steve Wise: "If they can't have their jobs back, if they can't have their homes back, they at least want to make their families complete again."

Louisiana pet owners have a powerful ally here in the state's capitol -- the Attorney General.

Charles Foti is trying to mediate cases. He believes Louisiana law is clear. The pets were lost, not abandoned, and should go back to their original families.

Charles Foti: "We want to take off our hats to the people who took the dogs and other animals in. But now is the time when the owners want them back. It is time to return them.

But time and again people who have the pets insist they are in better, more caring homes.

Pam Bondi, for example, says her dog had heartworms. Another new owner wrote "humidity will kill this dog." Still another claimed "Savannah could not possibly be better off."

The SPCA orchestrated the massive effort in Louisiana to find shelter for the displaced pets.

It says about 20 percent have been reunited with their owners, but the court fights. Broken hearts over others is upsetting.

Laura Maloney: "And I would ask those new owners to find it within their heart to return that animal to the person that owned it. They've already lost enough."

It's impossible to know how many hurricane victims are affected. But when you can't even rebuild your home, fighting for a lost pet is doggone difficult.

At 9:36 AM, Anonymous Pat said...

How can these people that say they are rescuers continue to keep these animals from their owners.

These people weren't bad people they were people caught up in a crisis.

I find it abhorrent that they refuse to reunite these victims, both human and animal.

At 7:51 AM, Anonymous George 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.

At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This story has changed about 15 times since first told. It creates serious doubts about the accuracy of any of the statements when so many different versions have been circulated.


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