Katrina + FEMA = Continued Disaster

This is a sad way to begin the week after a holiday weekend. It is truly tragic that the folks in Louisiana are still suffering so due to the after effects from Hurricane Katrina. With so much oversight needed, who knows how long it will take for injustices to be righted. The toxic trailers provided, which folks have been living in for going on 2 years, are causing children to become sick. Go watch this TV video clip that shows how they are being subjected to “prolonged exposure to fumes from the toxic chemical formaldehyde used in construction of thousands of FEMA travel trailers.”

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Now, I’ve learned that in Katrina’s wake, many owners are simply unable to care for their animals . . . so a homeless situation and crisis is again in place.

Hank, a strapping purebred golden retriever, is typical of the second wave of pet problems here in the 21 months since Hurricane Katrina hit.

The first crisis was those lost, abandoned or killed in the storm and its immediate aftermath. Now there are pets like Hank, who stayed with his New Orleans East owners for the first 10 months after Katrina, which submerged their home in 7 feet of water.

After moving several times and struggling to rebuild their lives, Hank’s owners realized they could no longer cope with owning a dog. So they surrendered Hank to Animal Rescue New Orleans, or ARNO, a grass-roots group that cares for animals that were left behind or separated from their owners.

The dog bounded with joy as ARNO shelter coordinator Robin Beaulieu entered his pen one recent afternoon. Hank flipped onto his back for a tummy rub. He loves to be petted and groomed,” Beaulieu said. The dog has lived at ARNO for the last eight months while he waits to find a new home.

Animal advocates say many pet owners living in trailers and tight on cash while they rebuild their flood-damaged homes opt to give up their animals because they don’t have space or can no longer afford to keep them. So many people out there need help with their pets,” said Charlotte Bass Lilly, ARNO’s executive director.

Beaulieu estimated that the number of families surrendering their pets to shelters had gone up between 45% and 60% since Katrina. ARNO was founded shortly after the storm.

Go read the entire LA Times article. It’s an eye-opener.