Thursday, April 20, 2006

Louisiana's Proposed Pet Evacuation Bill, Passed The Senate Committee But Must Now Move Out Of The Finance Committee: How You Can Help

Related to prior posting. Here’s how you can help.

This is not only for residents of Louisiana. If you want to address this issue as well, here is how:


Save Our Pets
Cathy Wells


Governor Blanco needs to hear from Louisiana, the country, and the world.

SB-607, Louisiana's proposed Pet Evacuation Bill, passed the Senate
Committee but must now move out of the Finance Committee (a major hurdle)
before it reaches the floor for a vote.

Please flood the Governor's office with calls, faxes, mailed letters, and emails daily until SB-607 reaches the Finance Committee on May 1.


Changing some of the words and personalizing your
comments carries far more impact.

Governor Kathleen Blanco
Office of the Governor, Attn: Constituent Services
P.O. Box 94004; Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9004
ph: 866-366-1121, 225-342-0991 or 225-342-7015; fax: 225-342-7099

Dear Governor Blanco,

Citizens of the world look to Senator Fontenot's pending Pet Evacuation Bill
(SB-607) as a model plan for service animals and household pets during a
catastrophe. You have an unprecedented opportunity to help your constituents
and enhance Louisiana's image worldwide.

Emergency arrangements with no animal component are out of touch with
citizens like Scott Sherman, who refused to evacuate without his dogs. Scott
is listed among the hurricane dead. The death toll might have been lower if
provisions for pets and service animals had been in place.

I call upon the State of Louisiana to fund the humane evacuation, transport
and temporary sheltering of animals as provided in SB-607. Please consider
the economic offsets. It is more cost-effective to shelter/transport animals
than finance crisis evacuations for residents who won't leave without them.

Currently two bills are moving in the U.S. Congress:
(1) HR-3858 requires the Director of Fema to ensure state and local disaster
preparedness plans take into account the needs of individuals with household
pets and service animals.

(2) S-2548 authorizes the Director of FEMA to make financial contributions
to state and local authorities for animal emergency preparedness purposes,
including the procurement, construction, leasing, or renovation of emergency
shelter facilities and materials to accommodate people with pets and service

On April 14, U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), top Democrat on the
Senate Homeland Security Committee, told Stamford Advocate reporters:
"Hurricane Katrina taught us that many people will not evacuate if they will
have to leave pets behind."

As you are aware, hurricane victims were forced to choose between survival
and their pets. Last September Denise Okojo clung to her seeing-eye service
dog in the shadows of her swamped apartment. When a helicopter team arrived
Okojo was ordered to leave Molly, a Labrador retriever, behind. The blind
woman said goodbye to her "eyes" and sole companion.

On April 18, John Bozes carried three empty leashes to the Senate Hearing on
SB-607. The leashes represented Angel Girl, Bullet, and Honey, his family's
now deceased dogs.

With pets banned from designated shelters outside St. Bernard Parish, Bozes
(who cannot drive due to disability) had found overnight haven at Beauregard
Middle School. The next day Sheriff's Deputies ordered people to vacate
without their pets, promising them the animals would be rescued. Instead,
Bozes watched CNN's Anderson Cooper later report "Dog Killings at Three St.
Bernard Parish Schools." As TV cameras surveyed the crime scene, Bozes
spotted Angel Girl, Bullet, and Honey lifeless on the bloodstained floor.

"I still lay awake at night crying because Angel Girl was all I had," Bozes

Unforgivable images are forever etched into our nation's conscience. But
Louisiana can now take the lead in legislation to fully implement protocols
on rescue/shelter of animals during a disaster. This pivotal human/animal
safety issue deserves your utmost attention and financial support.

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