Saturday, November 26, 2005

"They killed Fluffy!"

After all of the heart-rending stories about abandoned pets and people being forced to decide between evacuating without their pets or staying put with them because pets are not permitted, FEMA is sounding out a plan that would require states to develop evacuation plans that includes pets. Those states that don't will not be eligible for FEMA funds.

Folks, you know how I feel about my pets but this touchy-feely stuff is utter nonsense. Let's complicate even more an already complicated process by mandating that in addition to people, local and state government must also make provisions for Fido, Fluffy and Butterball. I'm not talking about service animals, but a dog, a cat and . . . a hamster? Who knows. I don't.

Maybe someone has a real attachment to their goldfish. Can they insist that accommodations be available for their aquariums?

Or will local and state governments be required to define what constitutes a pet in order to prevent someone from walking in with something like this?

(In the spirit of full disclosure we had one and they look far meaner than they really are. Uros are very timid.)

Or is this a knee-jerk reaction from an already bruised FEMA after so much media hype?

Of course it is.

In its look at the situation on October 2 (printer-friendly version) the Mobile Register noted:

"There's a certain number of people who aren't going to evacuate for any reason," [Betty Morrow who is completing a study of evacuation behavior during last year's Hurricane Ivan] said.

Some of those people may be saying that they're staying because of their pets, but she sees that as a kind of excuse.
The abandoned ones? Pets are abandoned every single day but when a disaster the size of Katrina occurs it happens on a larger scale, but with the media's lense magnifying the situation it becomes another "crisis."

Last year four hurricanes hit Florida in the span of six weeks. Humane Societies throughout the state provided emergency shelter for thousands of pets, and then faced their own crisis — a real one — when people never returned for them. Government-operated "Animal Care and Control" shelters were similarly affected. Heck, Doc housed as many as he could in his two animal hospitals and even he had some no one ever came back to claim.

But thanks to the media hype it's now some sort of crisis that FEMA says local and state governments must address. Or else.

One of the scenarios the article I referenced envisions, is designating certain emergency shelters strictly for pet owners, in close proximity to separate boarding facilities for their animals.

Which comes first: emergency shelter for people or their pets? Will shelters for people with pets be dependent upon suitable accommodations nearby for their animals, or is it the other way around?

I find it hard to imagine that people who have to go to public shelters because they are unable to get themselves out of harms way, will have carriers or crates in which to contain their animals. How many will also arrive with feed, water, bowls and medications; litter boxes, kitty litter . . .

(Oops! Wait! Just in case, we need to add the provision of carriers and crates and feed to our plan!)

Are the pet shelter managers . . .

(Oops! Wait! We need to add volunteers to our plan!)

. . . going to screen the animals to ensure that they're healthy? Are local and state governments going to require (and verify) that every pet has had minimum much less proper inoculations.

What happens if the pet is sick or hasn't hadn't had its vaccinations. Or maybe it has but the owner didn't think to take the paperwork with them to prove it?

Oh, and then there's that little storage thing to think about to make sure someone's little, helpless Fluffy isn't next to someone else's Killer.

Or are they all going to be crammed in together with folks later sobbing on Geraldo's shoulder as the camera rolls, "Fluffy was happy and healthy when I brought him in and now he's dead!"

Once the storm has passed, each and every one of these pet owners will, of course, take care of their own pets. You betcha!

Some will. Some will try. Others won't expecting someone else will do it for them, and some, as always, will simply disappear leaving "Fluffy," "Fido" and "Butterball" behind.

And then the media will have another failure of government about which to endlessly hype.

You can blame Norma for my pulling this out of DRAFT where I stuck it last October.

LATER: Have you checked out this week's edition of Wizbang's Carnival of the Trackbacks?


Blogger Paula said...


What if peeps are allergic to Fluffy? There's no more goddamn Sudafed around. I guess we'll have to make sure to have a meth dealer in every shelter.

5:46 PM  
Blogger ABFreedom said...

Yikes... this is getting a little carried away. That sounds like something they would try up here, all in the name of socialism and dependency. That's a backslide IMHO...

1:05 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

LOL Paula!!!

I can see it now: Disaster victims sitting on their dead asses in shelters, watching TV (like they are now), being waited on by volunteers, and saying, "And when you're done bringing me my daily allotment of food, take Fluffy for a walk. I don't want to miss Oprah."
I love my pets, too. I'll take care of them, thanks. I don't expect the government to care for them in an emergency.

9:37 AM  
Blogger GUYK said...

Many of us old fxxxz have pets that we are not going to leave behind. But, I don't expect the government to make arrangements for my pet. Hell, I don't want the government to do a damn thing except continue to send me my sociable security check which if I live to be ninety I may get back all that I put in the so called trust fund. I live in Hurricane alley-they missed me this year but had two last year. I make plans to evacuate and have a place to go that includes room for my pet. All pet owners should do the same. If they are not prepared to take care of a pet during an emergency then they shouldn't have the pet.

11:40 AM  
Blogger doyle said...

If you didn't read the Mobile Register article I linked to, you should. The information on the "I didn't evacuate 'cause I won't leave my pet(s)" excuse I thought particularly interesting.

As for sheltering owners and their pets in the same facility, Paula, Red Cross does not allow it and never will.

Separate facility for the animals in close to where their owners stay? I think I already nuked that fairly well.

That leaves post-disaster emergency evacuations, like those that occurred in New Orleans. You know, like the film that caught the boy who was screaming and sobbing while he was being put on a rescue chopper when he was forced to leave Snowball, his dog, behind?

Next time, why not grab the dog and leave the kid? Or boot someone else off to make room for a boy and his dog?

As I said, AB, a knee-jerk reaction.

5:29 PM  
Blogger ABFreedom said...

I guess it would all depend on the resources available. You have the advantage of having a huge military and supporting services. Up here, when we had a tornado go through the city, the red tape involved to get an emergency response actually contributed to the deaths. The military said screw the government and came in anyway. No one even thought about the pets, but I guess we should of up to a specific level as a lot of owners consider them people as well.

10:32 PM  
Blogger Norma said...

This is the best I've read on the topic--thanks for bring it out and dusting it off.

8:24 PM  

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