We Found Your Dog GiGi
As Judy and Santo Migliore evacuated on to a barge, an official threatened to handcuff Judy if she did not abandon GiGi, a 10-pound toy poodle. Judy clung to her 6-year-old dog with the apricot marks etched inside one ear and along her back. But officials stood firm and Judy was forced to leave GiGi with a St. Bernard Parish Deputy in Violet, Louisiana.

The Migliores and three of five adult children were now homeless, their former homes washed away in the levee break after Katrina. Desperate to find GiGi, they initiated an internet search from their hotel room in Lafayette, LA. They checked shelters statewide and perused Petfinders, once stumbling upon a white miniature poodle sent to a Michigan Humane Society. That lead, like others, was a dead end.

On October 7, an email arrived: "I am so sorry if this is GiGi," Dana, a rescue volunteer, wrote. "You cannot see it in the pictures, but the dog's nails are painted The dog was found either in [school] room 206, 208, or 210. Please, please accept my condolences if this is GiGi."

In the photo, a tangle of white fur rested atop a puddle of feces and blood. Patches of sunlight framed the tiny dog and a discarded cigarette butt lay by her head. GiGi had finally been found.

On October 7, Judy Migliore wrote to Ellen Little, another volunteer in the search for GiGi: "Ellen, I just wanted to let you know that my baby, GiGi, was found and that it's been confirmed she was never taken from the shelter. She died. The Pasado animal group in St. Bernard Parish found her. Once again, thank you and all the kind people who tried to bring this to a happy ending. But, now it has ended in sadness."

As told to me while recording stories for SB-607 Pet Evacuation, Brenda Shoss
Kinship Circle Action Alert Archive
A Disaster Plan Minus Animals Is A Bad Plan

Dear Senator,

In a single week last September, rescuers airlifted thousands of New Orleans residents from flooded homes. Among them, Denise Okojo clung to her Labrador retriever in their swamped apartment. When a rescue team arrived, Okojo was ordered to leave Molly, her seeing-eye service dog, behind. The blind woman said goodbye to her "eyes" and sole companion.

Laura K. Maloney, executive director of the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, claims animal protection volunteers recovered about 16,000 animals in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Most ended up in shelters around the U.S. Only 3,000 were reunited with their guardians. Okojo was one of the fortunate evacuees. At Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, she relayed her story to a kindhearted nurse who alerted ASPCA disaster relief workers. After smashing through a window, a rescue squad found Molly trembling in an upstairs bedroom.

A disaster plan without provisions for animals is a bad plan. Over half of all U.S. homes include animals. Cats inhabit 3 of every 10 homes (Humane Society of U.S.). In New Orleans alone, 50,000 to 70,000 dogs were pre-Katrina family members.

Yet Louisiana disaster victims were forced to choose between survival and their pets. Unforgivable images are etched into our nation's conscience: A white dog is ripped from a boy's arms as he boards a bus. A bewildered yellow Lab watches his family disappear in a helicopter. An elderly woman cannot receive medical care unless she deserts her cats. A man swims and walks for miles with his dog, only to learn he must abandon his loyal friend.

An emergency plan with no animal component is out of touch with constituents. In fact, Katrina stragglers cited pets as the foremost reason for staying in flooded areas. The human death toll might have been lower if a strategy to accommodate animals had been in place.

You have the opportunity to ensure this never happens again. I respectfully ask for your full support of Senator Fontenot's Senate Bill No. 607 (SB-607) Pet Evacuation Bill. SB-607 requires state and parish homeland security and emergency preparedness agencies "to consult with experts in the fields of animal sheltering, veterinary medicine, public health and safety, and other professional and technical personnel deemed appropriate to formulate emergency operation plans for the humane evacuation, transport, and temporary sheltering of service animals and household pets in times of emergency or disaster."

"I felt we were derelict in our duties to the citizens of Louisiana, because we didn't make arrangements for pets," Senator Fontenot told reporters. "I don't think we recognize that pet-human bond that was there, and a lot of people refused to evacuate because they weren't going to leave their pets behind."

Long after humans had evacuated, thousands of emaciated and dehydrated pets roamed New Orleans parishes. Seven months beyond the storm, animal advocates continue to rescue and rehabilitate displaced pets. Please stand behind SB-607, which instructs government to consult with animal welfare organizations on rescue/shelter of animals during a disaster. I am counting on you to cosponsor the critical Pet Evacuation Bill.

Thank you,

Lobby Louisiana State Senators For SB-607

Critical State Pet Evacuation Bill  ~  Contributing Source, Shannon Moore: The Senate Judiciary B Committee will hear SB-607, Louisiana Pet Evacuation Bill, on Tue April 18. Take action now.

Louisiana Senators
Senate Addresses
Louisiana State Senate
Main Fax: 225-342-0617
Main Phone: 225-342-2040

Senator Robert Adley
611 Jessie Jones Drive
Benton, LA 71006
225-342-2040, 318-965-1755
fax: 318-965-1757

Senator "Jody" Amedee
2109 S. Burnside Ave., Suite A
Gonzales, LA 70737
225-644-1526 fax: 225-644-7392

Senator Diana E. Bajoie
Post Office Box 15168
New Orleans, LA 70175
225-342-0752, 504-568-7760
fax: 504-896-1301

Senator Robert J. Barham
Post Office Box 249
Oak Ridge, LA 71264
225-342-2040, 318-244-5582
fax: 318-244-5015

Senator Walter J. Boasso
100 Intermodal Drive
Chalmette, LA 70043
225-342-2040, 504-270-9258
fax: 504-277-0113

Senator Sharon Weston Broome
P. O. Box 52783
Baton Rouge, LA 70892
225-359-9352, fax: 225-359-9353

Senator James David Cain
Post Office Box 640
Dry Creek, LA 70637
225-342-2040, 337-328-7266
fax: 337-491-2027

Senator Joel T. Chaisson
P.O. Box 1255
Destrehan, LA 70047
225-342-2040, 985-764-9911
fax: 985-764-9686

Senator Sherri Smith Cheek
9973 Mansfield Road
Keithville, LA 71047
318-687-4820, fax: 318-687-4077

Senator Donald R. "Don" Cravins
Vice Chair, Judiciary B Committee
200 West Pine Street
Lafayette, LA 70501
225-342-2114, 337-234-9695
fax: 337-234-7019

Senator Jay Dardenne
Judiciary B Committee Member
Post Office Box 94183
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
225-342-9788, fax: 225-383-3733

Senator Ann Duplessis
6600 Plaza Drive, Suite 211A
New Orleans, LA 70127
504-243-7795, fax: 504-246-7689
Senator Reggie P. Dupre
P. O. Box 3893
Houma, LA 70361-2016
985-876-9902, fax: 985-873-2016

Senator Noble E. Ellington
Judiciary B Committee Member
4272 Front Street
Winnsboro, LA 71295
318-435-7313, fax: 318-435-9885

Senator Cleo Fields
Post Office Box 94183
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
225-342-9793, fax: 225-219-4354

Senator Heulette "Clo" Fontenot
Author of SB 607, Pet Evacuation Bill
P.O. Box 1238
Livingston, LA 70754
225-686-0108, fax: 225-686-2161

Senator "Nick" Gautreaux
209 E. St. Victor Street
Abbeville, LA 70510
337-740-6425, 866-740-6425
fax: 337-740-6400

Senator D. A. "Butch" Gautreaux
1103 Eighth Street
Morgan City, LA 70380
800-562-3204, fax: 985-380-2447

Senator Francis C. Heitmeier
3709 General DeGaulle
New Orleans, LA 70114
504-361-6014, fax: 504-361-9794

Senator Donald E. Hines
Post Office Box 262
Bunkie, LA 71322
318-346-4619, fax: 318-346-2301

Senator Ken Hollis
Judiciary B Committee Member
2800 Veterans Memorial Blvd
Suite 365
Metairie, LA 70002
225-342-8325, 504-828-9300
fax: 504-828-9355

Senator Lydia P. Jackson
610 Texas Street, Suite 201
Shreveport, LA 71101
318-676-7029, fax: 318-676-7034

Senator Charles D. "C.D." Jones
Judiciary B Committee Member
141 Desiard Street, Suite 315
Monroe, LA 71201
225-342-2366, 318-362-5469
fax: 318-325-2647

Senator Robert W. "Bob" Kostelka
Post Office Box 2122
Monroe, LA 71207
800-508-5572, fax: 318-329-9150

Senator Arthur J. "Art" Lentini
6620 Riverside Drive, Suite 312
Metairie, LA 70003
504-780-8700, fax: 504-465-3463
Senator Max T. Malone
610 Marshall Street, Suite 722
Shreveport, LA 71101
318-676-5733, fax: 318-676-5734

Senator Robert "Rob" Marionneaux
Chairman, Judiciary B Committee
P.O. Box 577
Livonia, LA 70755-0577
225-637-3623, fax: 225-637-3124

Senator Joe McPherson
880 Robinson Bridge Road
Woodworth, LA 71485
318-484-2211, fax: 318-445-2872

Senator Michael J. "Mike" Michot
P.O. Box 80372
Lafayette, LA 70598
ph: 337-262-1332, fax: 337-237-1185

Senator Willie L. Mount
P.O. Box 3004
Lake Charles, LA 70602
337-491-2016, fax: 337-433-8080

Senator Edwin R. Murray
1540 N. Broad Street
New Orleans, LA 70119
504-945-0042, fax: 504-942-5968

Senator Ben Nevers
724 Avenue F
Bogalusa, LA 70427
985-732-6863, 1-800-881-2749
fax: 985-732-6860

Senator Julie Quinn
3330 North Causeway Blvd, Ste 438
Metairie, LA 70002
504-219-4640, fax: 504-219-4639

Senator Craig F. Romero
300 Iberia Street, Suite B-150
New Iberia, LA 70560
337-364-8006, fax: 337-364-7355

Senator John T. "Tom" Schedler
3840 Highway 22, Suite 200
Mandeville, LA 70471
225-342-2040, 985-727-7949
800-836-9581, fax: 985-727-9904

Senator Derrick Shepherd
2009 Ames Boulevard
Marrero, LA 70072
504-371-0263, fax: 504-371-026

Senator Kenneth M. "Mike" Smith
Post Office Box 1381
Winnfield, LA 71483
225-342-0637, 318-628-3075
fax: 318-628-5286

Senator Gerald J. Theunissen
Post Office Box 287
Jennings, LA 70546
337-824-0376, fax: 337-824-4780

Senator J. Chris Ullo
2150 Westbank Exwy, Ste 705
Harvey, LA 70058
504-361-6690, fax: 504-361-6691

For Lola, Robert And The Cats

Testimonial Story, Told To Shannon Moore  ~  As waters rose to her neck, Tana Barth fled to her attic with all her cats and dogs. A single foot of air separated Tana and her animals from the attic ceiling. She managed to climb through a vent on to her roof. A helicopter scooped her up with one cat in tow. Tana had swaddled the cat like an infant and responders thought the kitty was her child.

Tana was dropped off at the University of New Orleans, a makeshift site where thousands of evacuees and their pets waited without supplies, food, or water. The next day, Tana's friend paddled back to his home in a big blue tub. He brought his dog back to UNO. Tana also found a boat and a fence-board paddle to return home for the rest of her cats and dogs. She recovered just one cat. For the others still missing, she erected a ramp to the attic and vent.

As conditions worsened, police officers broke into a grocery store to get basic supplies. But more evacuees streamed into the university. When angry mobs (that vandalized, stole and raped) outnumbered officers, they left people to fend for themselves.

Tana escaped to a classroom where she hid her cherished cats in a cabinet. When a gang seized the classroom, Tana slept on a walkway with her cats tethered to her arms. Looters armed with flashlights looked for people to rob throughout the night. Gangs tossed computers and furniture into a swimming pool and shattered windows.

National Guard intervened, fabricating a lie about plans to explode the levees for water drainage. They told evacuees they'd be under 10 feet of water in 10 hours. Guardsmen ordered evacuation by helicopter – without animals. Tears streamed down the faces of grown men, who tied dogs to secure posts and kissed them goodbye. One man attached his drivers license to his dog, sobbing as he looked back upon the only treasured being left in his life. But Tana wouldn't budge. She confronted an army officer who said: "If you wait until dead last, we might take your pets."

Along with five others, Tana stayed to care for hundreds of dogs stranded at the university. She moved them to shaded areas and found drinking water. She untied them so they'd have a chance to swim for their lives. But most remained in the spots where their guardians left them, waiting for a familiar voice and touch.

Tana had two dogs. In 1996, Lola was crowned Queen of Barkus Parade. Robert was Lola's housemate. Both senior dogs are missing and presumed dead. Tana, a vet tech, also had many rescue cats. She eventually recovered some, but five perished because she was forced to leave without them.

Scott Sherman, Tana's friend, refused to evacuate without his nine dogs. He died in his home, along with all nine dogs. Scott's name is listed among the hurricane dead.

Attend SB-607 Hearing
Senate Judiciary B Committee will hear SB-607, Pet Evacuation Bill. Judiciary B Secretary, Danielle Doiron: 225-342-1773

When: April 18, 2006, 1:00 p.m.

Where: Louisiana State Capitol
900 N. 3rd Street  /  Baton Rouge, Louisiana
John J. Hainkel, Jr. Room, west side. Access at ground level Senate Committee Hall.

Why Your Presence Is Needed: Sign in and testify about your experiences. Or just sign in to support SB-607 and don't speak. We must fill that hearing room with people!

March With Your Best Friend(s)
For Louisiana Pet Evacuations

When: Monday 6/17/06, 2:00 p.m.

Where: Lousiana State Capitol
900 N. 3rd Street
Baton Rouge, LA

Honor Animals: Carry a photo and empty collar or leash.

Please Wear T-Shirts That Say:
If I Leave, They Leave
No Animal Left Behind…etc

Please print and post this announcement everywhere.
For anyone who needs transportation to the April 17 rally:
Call 504-305-4113 or email pets@pets911.org

Testimonials: Louisiana Evacuees Forced To Leave Animals Behind
Contact: Cathy Wells
Louisiana State Senate
Committee on Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 94183
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
225-342-1126, fax: 225-377-2366

Senator Fontenot (District 13, Louisiana) needs statements from Katrina evacuees stopped from evacuating with pets. To testify before a legislative committee, fill out a card with your contact information. The committee chairman calls on you when time to testify. Just tell the committee specifically what happened to you and your family and how this bill would have made you and your family's life better.

Your voice is instrumental in influencing legislators to support Louisiana Pet Evacuation Bill SB-607.