You watch, listen, read about awful national disaster events like Sandy, Katrina and your heart goes out to the people that live in those areas.
Thinking gee, if that was me, my family that suddenly saw the day to day go from easy, predictable to very hard and scary. Full of unknowns.
So when the Red Cross, FEMA, emergency personnel swoop in to meet the needs of the struggling communities that were in the path of the disaster, what about Spot, Puff, Rover, Fluffy? The pets lost in the shuffle and separated from their owners in the emergency evacuations? Or that have no owners, are displaced and on the streets. On their own to fend for themselves like the homeless.
Houlton Maine Humane Society’s Cathy Davis told me yesterday that often the pets are never reunited with their owners.
Because they get taken to animal shelters far away for care when the local animal shelter is destroyed. And attention to finding adults, children, loved ones in the wreckage, getting them to hospitals or morgues takes priority. And the four legged furry friends can’t speak up, have to fend for themselves in the wild during the lapse of animal shelter care. Or the original pet owners are dead, or in hospitals and not able to track down where they are to reunite.
She also said Maine is an open arms state to take in strays, pets displaced because of a disasters. But every state has rules about animals crossing their borders. Did an earlier Me In Maine blog post on rescue horses, cat and dog adoptions. New Jersey with Sandy’s weather tantrum has state laws that would not just let animals be relocated to Maine. Even though the support was there, desire to do so. Mobile units to meet the lost and found pet needs went into gear during Sandy. Food, water, medical attention needed by pets just like humans.
But eventually all these pets rounded up and then transported to other full time facilities which mean lots of owners never were reunited.
Her story made me thing of concentration camps during World War Two. Because even though the animals were taken in from temporary emergency mobile units. Then shuffled to full time shelters, the new distant centers that were already overburdened. Not equipped with money or manpower to meet the animal’s needs until adoption could happen. Or reuniting with the owners could take place. So sadly, many pets in time put to sleep. Time runs out looking for a new adoptive home. Those animals that did not get killed in the disaster, just had their ultimate death sentence delayed in the chaos, aftermath of the calamity. When adoptive homes could have been found if state laws allowed transport to new areas of the country.
The plight of animals displaced so much like human adoption in foreign countries.
Because of war or their own set of natural disasters that disrupt day to day life. Some orphanages like ones in Korea according to local Maine Adoption Placement Agency’s Dawn Degendhardt told the Houlton Rotary Club meeting a while ago wondered why would someone want to adopt a special needs child? Ones warehoused, isolated from public view in that country like our nation used to do.
Kids treated like outcasts living at Misfit Island.
When someone in Texas with two special needs children wants to adopt another. And there are kids out there needing a warm, loving, nurturing home round the world. Dawn said a light came on and the gruesome thought was voiced that American’s wanted those broken Korean kids for parts. Whoa.
When you hear, see, read about a disaster on the news, do you think about the animals left behind or stranded because of it?
And what happens to them? You would if it was your own family pet in a large population area with thousands of them displaced. And you had no idea where to begin to look when all the local intrastructure is destroyed, gone, missing. Support your local animal rescue shelters. They do good work in emergency rescue. Not just finding homes, caring for pets in day to day operations.