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Pivotal Pet Evacuation Bill Needs Your Voice Again

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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; email:

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 animals.

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 & quot;Dog Killings at Three St. Bernard Parish Schools." As TV cameras surveyed the crime scene, Bozes spotted Angel Girl, Bullet, and Honey lifeless on a bloodstained floor. "I still lay awake at night crying because Angel Girl was all I had," Bozes says.

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.

Thank you,

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UPDATE: In Katrina's Wake, Louisiana Pet Evacuation Bill Becomes Law
6/27/06: Louisiana's Pet Evacuation Bill Is Now Law
4/18/06: March/Hearing - Tears, Signs, Stories & Senators
4/17/06: PRESS RELEASE / Louisiana Pet Evac Bill Provides For Pets/People In Disasters
4/12/06: Email/Phone/Fax All Louisiana State Senators

To advocate a legal safety net for animals after Katrina's tragic loss of life, Kinship Circle's Brenda Shoss works with Louisiana Senator Fontenot's office to promote passage of Louisiana Pet Evacuation Bill SB-607. Ms. Shoss crafts letter campaigns to lawmakers, press materials...and gathers stories from evacuees forced to flee without pets. On June 27, 2006 Governor Kathleen Blanco signs SB-607 into law. Cathy Wells, Sen. Fontenot's aide who drafted SB-607, writes: "We all know if it weren't for Kinship Circle's campaigns to legislators, this bill would not have had the success it did..."

A New Orleans resident and Katrina survivor, Lisa Roussel, writes: "Without Kinship Circle and the many alerts concerning SB-607, we would never have been able to pull this off! The "dirty politicians" LA is known for would never have paid a second's notice to this bill. But because Kinship Circle kept us on top of things and provided us with legislators' contact info, urged us to bombard them with emails and calls, and kept us updated on a daily basis, YOU played a MAJOR role in getting Louisiana's Pet Evacuation Bill passed. I cannot thank you enough."


Save Our Pets, 504-305-4113

Cathy Wells


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, 2006.

Governor Blanco needs to hear from Louisiana, the country, and the world.
DISCLAIMER: Information in these materials is verified with original source. Kinship Circle does not assume responsibility for accuracy of information or for consequences of its use. Nothing on this website intends to encourage illegal action in whatever country you are reading it in. Kinship Circle does not engage in, nor support, any form of harassment or unlawful action. Nothing in this alert serves to promote such conduct.

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