Hurricane Katrina

Shannon dog with sign, I would not leave you, at rally 239x425
Shannon practiced compassion in an unassuming way. She simply embraced the lives of people and animals as if they were her own. Shannon Moore was a friend, daughter, wife, and angel for animals. We'll feel her presence in her many great achievements. Still, we will miss her everyday.

People and pets march to LA capitol steps to rally bill SB607 239x680 Kinship Circle director Brenda Shoss with rescued pup, dog in floods, saved white cat 239x967 black cats fed along a Kinship Circle food water route in New Orleans 239x660

Shannon, I Forgot To Tell You

Shannon Hartwick Moore
July 22, 1969  ~  May 30, 2006

Dearest Shannon,

Today I awoke in a sun-filled room. I'd dreamed about my trip to New Orleans to finally meet you and stay in your home. In that hazy rift between sleep and wakefulness, I did not remember you were gone.

I forgot to tell you: When we worked on Louisiana's Pet Evacuation Bill materials, you were so patient and kind. I was the stress machine. You thanked me many times for the PSAs, releases, and letter campaigns. That was your way, at least with me. I began to look forward to our conversations. Because, as women do, we'd passed from professional to personal. A bond had formed. I miss you Shannon and have this insane urge to call you.

I forgot to tell you: Thank you for your help when my puppy, rescued from a Missouri puppy mill, came home with a parvo-like condition, coccidia, giardia, and two little legs with missing bones. While Mandy was hospitalized on IV fluids, you called and called. You consulted your veterinarian uncle for advice. You were just there, unconditionally and completely. I wish you could see Mandy now. She is a spastic fluffball. We call her the walking hair-do.

I forgot to tell you: We were kindred spirits, you and I, with that precarious dose of passion and pain. Needing approval, but forging ahead, obsessively so. The last time we talked at length, I wanted to share a hundred more stories. You were a comfortable ear. I could open up, as you did with me. I don't connect easily. I grieve the friendship we lost and the one that would have grown.

For you Shannon, that line between valor and sorrow was thinly etched. People who practice compassion — not on a whim, but as their core — waken to daily questions: Can I save just one? How many can I speak for today? The fragile heart feels too much. Sees too much. Hears too much. Empathy gives way to anger and confusion. To experience the fear and pain of infinite animals can break the soul. Without a lifeline, isolation becomes unbearable.

I can never know the depth of your despair in those final hours Shannon. Like many who knew you, I am plagued with a thousand What-Ifs. I do know the world has lost an imperfect angel. A gentle spirit who could no longer find reason for hope.

Sleep among angels, sweet Shannon. Bring your love to the animals we couldn't save. I know you'd think this letter is a mush-fest and it would embarrass you. But the thing is, I forgot to tell you how much I cared.

Your friend, Brenda
From Brenda Shoss, Kinship Circle
animal rescuer Shannon Moore at birth of a foal 374x318

Photos and places to share
your thoughts about Shannon:

~  Memorial Guest Book
~  Memories Of Shannon Blog
~  Photos Of Shannon
~  Photos: People & Pets Rally

Shannon Moore's Work For Animals Leaves An Imprint

June 29, 2006  ~  Shannon's work for animals transcends her death. Although Katrina ravaged her home and possessions, Shannon looked into the eyes of animals and saw hope. She never viewed Katrina rescue as a finite problem, but rather, as part of a continuum to elevate animal welfare standards in Louisiana.

Shannon planned and carried out a People & Pets March to Louisiana's state capitol in Baton Rouge. She was instrumental in rallying support and awareness about SB-607, Louisiana's Pet Evacuation Bill. Working with Kinship Circle's Brenda Shoss, press releases, PSAs, alerts, flyers, and action campaigns were streamlined into a non-stop push to pass a bill that ensures no pets are left behind in the next disaster.

On behalf of the animals she loved, Shannon formed (SOS) Supporters of Save Our Pets, and worked tirelessly to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of hurricane stranded animals. Shannon volunteered for food/water programs to sustain displaced pets and strays in the streets. She advocated spay/neuter drives to help curb a pet overpopulation crisis worsened by roaming animals in the aftermath of last year's storms.

Shannon realized most of the lost souls she comforted knew warm laps, familiar voices and homes before the hurricanes. She became a Stealth Volunteer to assist in reunions between pets and their people.

Horses were Shannon's great love, and to help them she created the HayThere group to assist hay producers and consumers via an online marketplace for hay and feed goods.

One of Shannon's great gifts was an innate ability to bring information, people, transports and supplies together. If all else failed, she'd hop into a vehicle and deliver the feed/supplies herself. It is difficult to estimate the huge quantity of food and supplies she moved for large and small animals struggling to survive in Gulf Coast areas. She was a one-woman information clearinghouse. Any animal rescue group who needed statistics, a news story, or contact information counted on Shannon. Shannon Moore was an angel for animals with many great achievements, we will miss her everyday 591x310

In Shannon's Memory:
When Rescuers Need Rescue

John Pippin, MD, Kinship Circle member and physician with Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), shares info about compassion fatigue.

I didn't know Shannon Moore, but some local heroes who traveled to the Gulf Coast to help after Katrina probably did. She was a dedicated woman, for whom everything she did never seemed to be enough.

And there is a reminder here, perhaps Shannon's legacy to all who didn't know her but are colleagues in fighting for the animals. Whatever we undertake – rescue/adoption, spay/neuter, education, legislation, advocacy, direct actions – it's far bigger than we are. We battle not only the animals' plight, but also the ignorance, apathy and opposition of our own species.

We are part of a movement that will eventually win for animals, but we can't win it all right away. Because we want to save every animal and right each wrong, we must remind ourselves to work as hard as reasonably possible and take our place in this movement's history. It's no good for our animal friends, ourselves or colleagues if we suffer psychologically or physically because the enormity of the task seems overwhelming.

So all who feel overmatched, frantic, angry or depressed (occasionally or always) consider your important roles in animal advocacy. All social justice movements take time and sacrifice, with evil experienced along the way. Only the fortunate few survive to see animals achieve moral equality. The rest of us do the dirty work to get there. We must take care of ourselves to take care of the animals.

Finally, lean on one another when things get tough, and understand that slowing down or taking time away can make you stronger. Here is a great NTARN posting from Cary Birdwell on June 5, 2005. The advice applies to all the work we do, not just rescue. JJP

Rescuers Need Rescue, Too
By Chandra Moira Beal

Animal rescue is deeply rewarding yet difficult work. To survive, one must find healthy ways to cope with emotional challenges. Here are 10 points to ponder:

  1. You can't save them all. Even if you spent every hour of every day saving animals, you still wouldn't be able to save them all. Take comfort in knowing you are not alone in your efforts.

  2. Work smarter, not harder. Manage your rescue efforts like a business. Organize tasks to make the best use of time. For example, time spent recruiting more volunteers may make more sense in the long run than trying to do more yourself. If you find yourself pulled in many directions, you might be more effective if you focus on one rescue facility, one geographic locale, or one species or breed.

  3. Just say no. Many people feel guilty when they can't take care of everything that comes up. Be realistic about how much you can handle! If you're feeling overwhelmed, it's okay to say, "I can't right now." Delegate to others when possible, and ask for help when you need it.

  4. You are making a difference. Whenever you question your efforts, remember the old parable about the man walking on the beach, picking up starfish who have washed ashore and tossing them gently, one by one, back into the ocean. Another man approaches, notices that there are starfish on the beach for as far as the eye can see, and asks, "What difference can you possibly make when there are so many?" Looking at the creature in his hand, the first man replies, "I can make all the difference in the world to this starfish."

  5. Celebrate victories. There are happy endings to many rescue stories. Rejoice in what is working. Of course, seeing an animal go home with a loving family is the greatest reward of all.

  6. Small kindnesses do count. It's common to think small efforts don't mean as much as large victories, but stopping to pet an animal is worth doing. Your touch may be the only friendly attention he or she receives that day. Grooming, holding and comforting, or intoning softly that you care, are activities that many shelters don't have time for.

  7. Find outlets for emotional release. Rescue work can be physically exhausting, emotionally draining and spiritually challenging. Don't dismiss your feelings or think you're a wimp for being affected by it all. Talk to someone you trust about what you're experiencing. Cry when you need to. Write your feelings in a journal. Channel your emotions into action by writing to the editor of your newspaper or your local representatives about the need for animal protection legislation.

  8. Take care of yourself. Make time to do whatever makes you feel good. Take a relaxing bath, or go out to dinner and let someone else do the cooking. You need to recharge your batteries in order to maintain mental and physical health.

  9. Don't downplay your compassion. When people ask me why I rescue animals, often I'm tempted to say, "Oh, it's not a big deal" or "Somebody's got to do it," when in reality I rescue animals because I care so deeply about them. Compassion is healthy, normal and necessary for this work. Let people know how important this cause is to you. You just might inspire others to become involved.

  10. Never give up. When discouraged, it's tempting to throw in the towel. Despite hard work, you may not see real change in your lifetime. Still, giving up won't make it better. Take a break and return fighting. Remember the man and the starfish.
A dog wears signs that say I Trust You and Have Crate, Will Evacuate at a post Katrina rally 293x440

Donate Crates In Shannon's Honor

Reply To: Judy McDermott, Mike McDermott  ~  Shannon Moore's commitment to passage of Louisiana Senate Bill 607, Pet Evacuation Act, has inspired Shannon's Crates Campaign. Pet carriers and collapsible wire kennel crates must be on-hand for the next disaster.

Continue Shannon's legacy by donating:
  1. Pet Carriers: Any kind except cardboard, new or used.

  2. Collapsible Wire Crates: New or used. Puppy training crates with slide-out tray are excellent.

  3. Money: Send checks or money orders to fund carriers and crates, plus other animal disaster evac items related such as leashes, collars, muzzles, etc.

Monetary Donations
LA Dept of Agriculture & Forestry
Atn: Commissioner Bob Odom
100 North Ardenwood
Baton Rouge, LA 70806

Checks or money orders payable to:
LA Agriculture Finance Authority
Memo: Crates in Shannon's memory

Ship Carriers & Crates To:
Louisiana Dept of Agriculture & Forestry, Atn: Hilary Stephenson
100 North Ardenwood
Baton Rouge, LA 70806

Shannon's Memory Book
If you'd like your name in a Memory Book for Shannon's family, email information to
name  /  date  /  address
email  /  type of donation

ACA Feline Forum 2006

Alley Cat Allies, 435-644-8583

Future of Feral Cat Management
New Orleans  ~  Free half-day workshop for animal control officers, directors, and other AC staff members from Louisiana or Mississippi. Registration required.

When: Fri June 23, 2006
Register: 601-749-5084 or email ACA
Cost: Free/5 staff per agency. $15/each additional staffer. $30/Non-AC.

A Bright Future For Feral Cats
LA And MS  ~  Seminar for cat caregivers, humane groups, and residents who care about cats. Registration required.

When: Sat June 24, 2006
Where: Four Points by Sheraton
Register: 601-749-5084 or email ACA
Cost: $25/residents. $50/non-residents.

Four Points by Sheraton
6401 Veterans Memorial Blvd
Metairie, LA 70003
504-885-5700, Free Parking

Baton Rouge, New Orleans Int'l Airport: I-10 East from Baton Rouge to Veterans Blvd (Exit #225) or Airport Rd from airport. Turn LT on Veterans Blvd. Hotel on RT.

North: Take Causeway South. Continue on I-10 W and then to Veterans Blvd. LT on Veterans Blvd. Hotel on RT.

Mississippi: I-10 W to New Orleans. Follow signs to Baton Rouge. LT on Exit #225/Veterans Blvd. Hotel on RT.

South: Follow I-10 to Veterans Blvd (Exit #225). LT on exit. Hotel on RT. New Orleans Int'l Airport 3 miles from hotel.

Hanson Saga:
Trail Of Animals, Fugitives And Lies

The Tammy And William Hanson cruelty case spans 9 years. It's believed the last court case related to Hurricane Katrina animals. Updated May 2014

Photo Collections: MHPets and Baxter County Sheriff's Office
The Tammy And William Hanson cruelty case spans 9 years and is believed to be the last court case related to Katrina animals 351x259
Tammy's Timeline Begins
■ 10/21/05: Hanson case begins when Sheriff's Investigators conduct helicopter reconnaissance over a Baxter County dog compound/puppy mill. From the air they see approx. 100 dogs roaming freely, plus numerous dogs in small cages. Larger pens are filled with many dogs. Trash is scattered everywhere, a small pool is filled with stagnant water. Tied dogs are seen lying on the ground, motionless. Sheriff's Office had received information that Tammy Hanson had picked up about 50 pit bulls from New Orleans, rescued after Hurricane Katrina. Based on helicopter visuals, Sheriff's Office obtains a search warrant. A local veterinarian and Humane Society of North Central Arkansas personnel assist in search. Officers are met by Tammy Hanson, who calls the facility "EDNAH," for Every Dog Needs A Home. They find many caged pit bulls standing in their own feces and exposed to weather extremes. Over 400 dogs are cramped in unsanitary pens full of feces. Tammy Hanson and husband, William Hanson, are arrested. They are released on bond shortly thereafter.

■ 10/22/05: Officers find a dead pit bull in his cage, plus three dead dogs in plastic trash bags. All animals at the compound are seized. Humane Society of North Central Arkansas and Humane Society Of U.S. are in charge of seized animals for an initial three weeks. Ultimately, Tammy and William Hanson are each charged with 28 misdemeanor counts of Cruelty to Animals (Arkansas is one of few states left with no felony animal cruelty law).

■ 12/2005: Tammy Hanson is also charged with three Property Theft counts for stealing animals and three Tampering with Physical Evidence counts, all misdemeanors. At their Baxter County trial, each Hanson is convicted of 20 misdemeanor Cruelty to Animals counts. Tammy Hanson is convicted of two Property Theft counts.
■ 5/14/14: Federal suit against BCSO. Animal abuser sues for "failed" medical care, privacy rights.

■ 1/14/06: Trial set for Hansons

■ 2006: Laura Gonzo  ~  Any Katrina rescuer no doubt recalls hundreds of suffering dogs, many Katrina/Rita rescues, found in an Arkansas police raid of the Hanson's "sanctuary." The Hansons are on the run. Animal people: Be aware and contact Sheriff John Montgomery if you suspect you've seen them.
Tammy And William Hanson 330x224
Warning, Look For These People! Photo Above: Tammy & William Hanson
Pet Hoarders, Tammy Hanson, 38, and her husband, William Hanson, 41, owners of Every Dog Needs A Home (EDNAH) in Gamaliel, Arkansas did not show for their court appearance and seem to be on the run. Tammy and William Hanson, convicted in January 2006 on 20 counts of cruelty to animals in Baxter County District Court, failed to show up in court for the sentencing phase. Tammy Hanson also was to be arraigned on three theft of property charges and three tampering with evidence charges, all misdemeanors.They could be in your community planning another EDNAH. Please help bring these abusers to justice. In the past they've operated out of other states, including Missouri. We need to stop them!

If you see them contact: John Montgomery, Baxter County Sheriff
904 Hwy 62 S.W.  /  Mountain Home, AR 72653
870-425-6222 or 870-425-7551,

■ 2/22/06: Hansons in court sentencing set for Thursday

■ 2/23/06: On sentencing day, Tammy and William Hanson are absent. A no-bond arrest warrant is issued. Seized animals go to Humane Societies. Arrest warrants issued after couple are no-show for animal cruelty sentencing

■ 2/24/06: Groups push for animal cruelty as felony, after Hansons convicted on 20 animal cruelty counts. Arkansas is one of 9 states without felony-level cruelty penalties.

■ 2006-2009: The Hansons remain fugitives, as leads and tips are investigated.

■ 7/15/09: A citizen tip to a Sutton, VT farm house leads Vermont officials to Tammy Hanson, living under alias. She's arrested on the Baxter County warrant, plus a Lawrence, MO felony warrant for stealing animals, then moved to a Vermont detention hall where she refuses to waive extradition to Arkansas. She is extradited via Governor's Warrant

■ 7/23/09: Hurricane Katrina Hoarder Found in Vermont. Justice delayed but not denied.

■ 9/25/09: Tammy Hanson is returned to Arkansas by Baxter County Sheriff's Deputy Julie Tilley and booked into Baxter County Detention Center.

■ 10/2/09: Tipster helped police catch pet hoarders

■ 10/25/09: William Hanson is later found and jailed near Kansas City, MO. He is extradited to Arkansas under Governor's Warrant and moved to Baxter County Detention Center.

■ 11/4/09: Hansons are sentenced in Baxter County District Court for 2006 convictions. Tammy gets one year in Baxter County Detention Center. William receives a lesser term. Significant fines, court costs and restitution are mandated. Tammy Hanson appeals her conviction, but sentencing order is not stayed and she remains in custody.

■ 3/8/10: While incarcerated, Tammy Hanson files suit in U.S. District Court, Western District of Arkansas Harrison Division, for alleged civil rights violations. She names Baxter County, Sheriff John Montgomery, and at least 15 Sheriff's Office employees as defendants. Her lawsuit seeks $300,000 in damages and a trial by jury. Alleged violations:
~ Failure to Provide Vital Medical Treatment
~ Deprivation of Life's Necessities, Disparate Treatment
~ Failure to Permit Exercise of Religious Freedom
~ Failure to Properly Train and Supervise Employees

■ 7/9/10: Tammy Hanson is released from jail with credit for time served plus credit for working at jail. Her appeal of criminal charges is dropped.

■ 9/26/11: After filing extensive pleadings and motions, eight listed defendants are dismissed from her lawsuit by order of U.S. District Court Judge.

■ 2/29/12: Dog Hoarder Sues County For Small Jail Cell. Exquisite irony, lost on Tammy.

■ 5/13/14: Tammy Hanson sues BCSO in federal court for failed medical care, privacy rights.

■ 5/13-15/14: Testimony begins with defendants Baxter County, Sheriff Montgomery, and the former Jail Administrator. Hanson calls more witnesses, many inmates at Arkansas Dept. of Corrections, until she rests her case. Defendants present their case, then each side's closing statements. After several hours deliberation, the jury unanimously finds in favor of defendants. Tammy Hanson's civil rights were not violated and she is awarded nothing.
From prison Tammy Hanson files suit for poor living conditions, some similar to what she subjected dogs to 239x360 Sad dogs at the Hanson compound 239x430
■ 5/16/14: Arkansas Hanson case concludes. After nearly a decade of arrests, trials, out-state extradition, appeals… the Hanson Hoarding Saga ends. A jury for U.S. District Court, Western District of Arkansas Harrison Division, finds Tammy Hanson's civil rights were not violated. Hanson said she'll appeal, but the case appears over.

■ 5/18/14: Hanson Lawsuit: Convicted animal abuser loses on all accounts. By Josh Dooley: Tammy Hanson left the J. Smith Henley Federal Building with her mother and sister, but with no extra money and 4 verdicts against her. Hanson's lawsuit, claiming civil violations for denied medical care and privacy from male inmates, named Baxter County, Sheriff John Montgomery, former jail supervisor Randy Weaver and jail staff. It sought $300,000 in compensatory and (unspecified) punitive damages. From Sep 2009, Hanson was jailed in Baxter County for 9 months of a 1-year sentence for her 2006 conviction on 20 misdemeanor animal abuse charges in the Every Dog Needs A Home (EDNAH) case.

Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge P.K. Holmes III gave jury instructions before final arguments from both sides. Then Hanson stood before jurors for her closing words. "I told you at the beginning of this case that this is about how they broke the rules," Hanson said, pointing a finger at the defense table. "They're not allowed to break the rules. We still have the constitution."

She said fellow female inmates asked her to sue the county, as they looked to Hanson as a champion. "It was a burden," she said, emotionally charged. Hanson didn't mention, as she had earlier in her own testimony, how many "fellow inmates" wanted to beat her up. One issue every witness agreed upon was Hanson's poor relationship with inmates.

"I wasn't getting my meds, showers, fresh air. I was a woman with urological issues. I needed toilet paper," Hanson told the jury. "They kept me in that box, and they let the men see me, every day."

During closing arguments, Hanson did not mention some 500 dogs on her Gamaliel property whom she deprived of the very things – food, sunlight, sanitary conditions – that jailers allegedly denied her while jailed. "They'll do it until someone tells them they can't," Hanson said. "You can send a message to them that they can't do this to people."
Defense attorney Jason Owens then gave the jury a different message. "This case for the plaintiff (Hanson) was about harassment and vindictiveness. She threatened to sue before she even got to jail." Owens reminded jurors that part of their job was to choose whom to believe and how much of what a witness said was truthful. In Hanson's case, he said, they shouldn't believe anything. "Obviously, we're very pleased. This case has been drawn on for a long time," Montgomery said. "We've been dealing with Miss Hanson since October of 2005. We're happy that after careful consideration, the jury came back and vindicated Baxter County and all the employees of the Baxter County Sheriff's Office."

Montgomery feels Friday's verdict should bring closure for Baxter County. "Of course, she has the right to appeal," he said. "But as far as we're concerned, the saga of Tammy Hanson and the largest animal cruelty case in U.S. history is finally behind us," Owens said.

The jury deliberated for almost four hours before finding in favor of the defense. Hanson asked the judge about filing an appeal. Hanson remains on probation and owes $14,565 in fines and restitution from her animal abuse conviction, sheriff's records state. Husband William Hanson, also convicted of animal cruelty, owes $12,880 in fines and restitution.
Law enforcers find hundreds of tied, caged, roaming dogs, some dead, at the Hanson compound in Baxter County 300x738 Dogs live amid mountains of trash and stagnant water 300x540
■ 9/7/07: Sunny's Story (video above). Sunny survived the Hanson hoarding operation, found after hurricanes. Still afraid of people, Sunny learns how to live.
Some dogs in Hanson hoarding case were picked up in New Orleans after Katrina 280x335 Some dogs in Hanson hoarding case were picked up in New Orleans after Katrina 300x600 Goats are also found among dogs at the Hanson compound 300x468
small bites gulf coast animal news 900x900

Small Bites

News named Small Bites as reminder to donate small-bite food (or cat food) for animals.

Ban Cockfighting In Louisiana
Sign Petition  ~  We, the undersigned, wish to voice our support for SB 652 to ban cockfighting in Louisiana. We feel this is of national concern due to the potential spread of Avian Flu…

Interactive: Flash Flood
Hurricane Katrina's Inundation of New Orleans, 8/29/05 Times Picayune  ~  In case you haven't seen it, this video relives how Katrina began. And check out what Leroy Sievers, ABC NightLine, said on our Pets911 website. Capt. Ron

UAN Lifeline Grants Cover Some Veterinary Care
  • Grants for companion animals in life-threatening emergencies when rescuers or caregivers can't afford entire treatment cost.
  • For homeless or recently rescued animals suffering from life-threatening conditions that require swift emergency veterinary care.
  • For Good Samaritans and rescue groups who take in sick, injured animals.
  • Sometimes help senior citizens and low-income families pay for emergency vet care.

National Headlines: Animal Evacuations

Animal news highlights from DawnWatch, an animal advocacy resource that looks at animal issues in the news and facilitates one-click responses to relevant media outlets.

6/8/06 Wall Street Journal: In Case of Disaster, Milelli Has Plans For You and Your Dog (front pg)  ~  "Moved by images of teary residents who resisted leaving their flooded homes after Hurricane Katrina because they couldn't take pets with them, Paul Milelli hit upon a plan to shelter man and beast together in public schools. 'Pets and people have to go together,' says Milelli, Palm Beach County's Public Safety Director. 'It undermines efforts to get vulnerable people out of harm's way if they don't want to leave Fifi or Fido behind.' But Milelli and other emergency managers find that placing pets with their [guardians] under one roof isn't easy. Palm Beach County's school board recently refused to join in his plan for pet-friendly shelters because it feared lawsuits. The concern: Pet dander would get into a ventilation system, trigger an asthma attack or other allergic reaction in a students or staff long after a storm has passed."

The article notes people who wouldn't leave without pets, or even died to save them. "Congress is drafting bills that require states to draw up plans to shelter animals or risk losing federal disaster funding. One bill has already passed the House. Craig Fugate, Florida's Emergency Management Director, says that no shelter for pets ultimately means people get hurt. 'When we go door by door searching for people who didn't leave because of their pets, it's a people issue,' he says. But there are practical challenges to animal sheltering. Red Cross shelters, citing health and hygiene, have never let people bring pets with them."

New Yorkers: Mayor Bloomberg ended your likelihood of evacuating easily with animals. "New York City Transit Authority recently ran into a political storm after it proposed policy changes allowing New Yorkers to board subway trains and buses with their dogs and cats in an emergency evacuation of the city. Mayor Michael Bloomberg attacked the idea. 'We have to evacuate human beings,' he said at a news conference. 'That is where our priority has to be.'" The story's front page placement provides great opportunity for animal friendly letters to the editor: Wall Street Journal Comments. Always include full name, address, and daytime phone. Shorter letters are more likely to be published.

6/1/06 USA Today: Is everyone ready? Nine months after Hurricane Katrina blasted the Gulf Coast, U.S. government's chief tropical weatherman doubts it (front pg)  ~  "Texas has overhauled evacuation plans…with a key change: It will be OK to evacuate with pets. Past bans on animals in shelters deterred some residents from fleeing dangerous storms…" USA Today Feedback

6/1/06 New York Times: Looking Out for Pets in the Next Disaster (pg A16)  ~  "The House voted 349 to 24 to approve the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act, requiring state and local disaster preparedness plans to include the needs of people with pets and service animals. Senators Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, and Frank R. Lautenberg, D-New Jersey, introduced a similar bill that also authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency to reimburse shelters that provide for animals…" New York Times Letters

5/31/06 CNN Kyra Phillips: Interview With Congressman Christopher Christopher Shays (R-CT) Who Supports The Pets Act  ~  "There are stories of young children who lost their homes and everything in them. The one thing they could hold on to, that gave them comfort, was their friend, their family member, their pet… There were many [guardians] who simply refused to leave pets and died with them." Then Phillips commented, "Who could be against a law to save Lassie? This man, among others." And we heard from Congressman Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) one of 24 House members to vote against the pet rescue bill. He proclaimed himself a pet lover but said, "We had enough trouble during this last hurricane season evacuating people. What are we to do if we send a helicopter in to pick some people up and, you know, they've got a Shetland pony on the ground?" [Kinship Circle notes that Congressman Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) appears to be a true ass, and we're not referencing donkeys].

Phillips ended with, "Just about everyone agrees people should come before pets, but supporters of the pet evacuation bill argue that an animal protection law protects people as well. In a poll conducted for the Humane Society, about half of all [animal guardians] said they'd refuse to evacuate without pets. Escape the storm or protect your pets? If this bill is signed into law, [animal guardians] may be able to avoid that painful decision…" CNN Feedback

Don't limit letters to media outlets in this alert. Most papers have some article on hurricane evacuation that can serve as the perfect jump-off point for letters to the editor in support of the PETS Act or about the sorrow and fatalities caused by Red Cross no-pet policies. I am always happy to help edit letters. Yours and the animals', Karen Dawn
Red, a partially paralyzed Katrina dog refugee from New Orleans 239x403

Red Finds His Forever Home!

Best Friends, Cathy Scott  ~  Red, a partially paralyzed refugee pit bull from New Orleans, has gone to a permanent home. But Red didn't leave his temp home, Longwood Animal Hospital and Pet Resort, without a big send off. The day before, a vet tech brought doggie ice cream for Red's farewell party. Employees showered him with Kongs, tennis balls and his favorite chewies. For Red's drive to Florida, his adopter Diane McDermott outfitted him in a Harley-Davidson tee and seat-belt harness. Houston TV News covered the event. "He sat in the front seat of Diane's car, ready for the ride" said veterinarian Lucy Gillespie, who works at the hospital. "He thought all the attention was the coolest thing ever. He didn't look back."

Red survived Hurricane Katrina but ended up a stray. Last October a car hit him. He somehow dragged himself back to the house of a man who'd left out food for him. The man Best Friends and a rescue team took Red to an emergency hospital. He was hospitalized a couple months after undergoing back surgery.

Photo: Leah Purcell. Diane McDermott readies Red for Florida as a teary-eyed Dr. Lucy Gillespie looks on.

In January, Red went to a temporary triage center. He became a favorite with staff/volunteers, who sat with him, tucked him nightly, bathed him, played tug of war and gave him treats. In the evenings, Red left his playpen to scoot around a large space. Once he got wheels (a donated cart), he raced through the building. In February Leah Purcell, who runs Spindletop Pit Bull Refuge in Houston, fostered Red. She took him to physical therapy at Longwood pet resort in Cypress. Red stayed three months, for daily massages and one-on-one therapy. But Leah visited him regularly and fielded calls from potential adopters. "I'm glad I was able to find an adopter who can handle him," Leah said. "He's a high-maintenance dog. Diane is a devoted person."
Diane lives in Palm Beach, FL and first saw Red in a CNN story about Red in New Orleans. She phoned Best Friends and then got in touch with Leah, who prepped her about Red's needs. Once approved, Diane modified her home. In "Red's romper room," she replaced rugs with soft foam to let Red pull himself around without rug burns. She got a new king-size mattress and positioned it without a box spring so Red can get into bed on his own, where "he'll sleep with me," she said. She also installed a ramp from bedroom to backyard.

Last year Diane cared for her invalid father and also took in her brother, who later died of cancer. "I'm used to taking care of people," Diane said. "It won't be that different with Red." Her last dog died of old age and she was ready for another. Red's back injury left him semi-incontinent and partially paralyzed. He requires constant care with someone home during the day. Diane fit the bill because she works out of her home.
Red, a pit bull, survived Hurricane Katrina but ended up a stray later hit by a car 239x288
Red was doted on at Longwood. During the day, he stayed in Lucy's office and she often took him home at night and weekends. Staff gave him lots of outdoor time to play ball in his cart and he got five massages a day. As a result, Red improved and "began to move his right rear leg a bit while in his cart," Lucy said. Because of his back injury, his tail barely wagged. After months of therapy, he wags away. So it was a bittersweet goodbye for Longwood employees. "We all cried," Lucy said. "I will miss him, but I'm happy he has a one-on-one relationship with someone able to work with him. Red got the home he deserves." Diane promised to send progress reports. "We all look forward to her photos and emails," Lucy said.

Got Cat Food? Send!

Bettina R.  ~  Cat food is still critically needed to feed New Orleans animals on the street until they can be trapped, fostered or reunited. These animals have struggled since Sep 2005 and as most rescuers know, cats are "tier two" in any disaster. If still alive, they finally emerge from shadowy debris long after most dogs have been sighted. When traumatized, cats retreat – which is why NOLA now seems overrun with Katrina kitties. The good news is that some animals are still reunited with families! A cat rejoined her family in May, after kept alive for months by volunteer-run food and water stations.

What You Can Do: Nutro Products offers a free food bag for answering a short questionnaire. You can collect coupons! One per household, but if you enlist friends every bit helps.

Mail Coupons To:
Animal Rescue New Orleans
1219 Coliseum Street
New Orleans, LA 70130

Hurricane Season Help

National Disaster Animal Relief & Supply - 256-295-4001
P.O. Box 8506  /  Gadsen, AL 35902
See State Coordinators List
See State/Regional Directory
Karen Wingo, president
JoAnne Reints, vice president
Keith Lender, chief state coordinator
Maureen Koplow, John Walling

National Disaster Animal Relief & Supply (NDARS) is a volunteer coalition that wants no animal left behind in any disaster. Founded in 2006 to build on 2005 hurricane rescue, we strive to provide foster care, supplies, transport, etc. Texas Gulf Coast, South Florida and Mid-Atlantic to North Atlantic coasts are forecast to get the brunt of 2006 hurricanes. NDARS seeks coordinators and volunteers. A central database documents volunteers and services.

  • Animal Food: Companies to provide food during disasters.
  • Foster Providers: People to foster displaced animals.
  • Medical Supplies: Medical supplies donated for disasters.
  • State Rescue: Groups on call to assist disaster victims, state by state.
  • Storage Providers: Sites/people to stockpile supplies for disasters.
  • Supply Transport: Volunteers to move supplies to disaster zones.
  • Veterinarians: Vets who volunteer or provide low cost services in disasters.
  • Volunteers by State: Become a coordinator for your state.
Judie Mancuso, an original ARNO coordinator, with Red in New Orleans after rescue 300x450
Donate To Medical Aid
Southern Animal Foundation
Atn: Anne Bell, Phoenix Fund
1823 Magazine Street
New Orleans, LA 70130

Donate On Paypal via

Get Avondale Pits Tee!
View/Buy: Tees, tanks, more

Front Image: Phoenix chained. Fighting For Their Lives, Unchaining Avondale Pits

Back: Brenda Shoss of Kinship Circle donated use of her poem With My Eyes. Proceeds go to medical aid and transport.

Avondale Pits Story
While working with Villalobos staff on a reunion, two rescuers in New Orleans spotted dogs in Avondale, LA who were trapped on short, heavy, padlocked chains without food, water or shelter. Phoenix, a golden pit, was severely emaciated and his skin rubbed raw. Spice, a white/gray/black dog, had so little range he could not reach his shabby doghouse.

After months trying, three dogs (the third, Mama, later gave birth to five pups) were removed from this Avondale address on 5/18/06. The [guardian] signed a release for two and a euthanasia request for the other. On 5/20, he requested animals back. Elena at JPAS got this case on a docket with Judge Messina. Animals were placed on hold till after the hearing. The case was drawn out through September, at which time criminal proceedings unfolded. In the end, sick Phoenix recovered at Southern Animal Foundation, along with Mama and her pups. Villalobos Rescue Center took in dogs in California. All were eventually re-homed, forever free from chains.
Severely abused pit bulls found during food water runs are held during ongoing cruelty case 591x513

Avondale Pits Unchained

6/10/06 Update, Mary Thompson  ~  I spoke with Anne at SAF (Southern Animal Foundations) who said, "Of course we'll take him," in response to Phoenix's heartworm and health issues. Now we can get this poor dog (one of the rescued Avondale pits, in worst shape) healthy and begin HW treatment at SAF.

6/8/06 Update, Case AS2006-012  ~  In an admin hearing, we submitted all documentation. ACOs reported as well. Apparently they'd been to Davis' house three times: Once to get the second dog we'd found (white/brindle patches on a doubled chain) and euthanize him at Davis' request, because "too aggressive to handle." Judge Messina reviewed evidence, and with the Parish Attorney, told Davis the case would proceed to the DA for criminal prosecution. The DA decides whether to prosecute or not. The dogs will not be released until resolved. Davis will be charged on three cruelty counts under state law if the DA moves forward. If not, the case returns to Judge Messina for decision.
Phoenix  ~  Phoenix has gained weight and is heartworm free. He is wary about food, but otherwise nothing but great reports from SAF. Tia's refuge will be heaven on earth given his prior life. My NOLA friend Christine met the dogs. Below are her notes.

Spice  ~  A white male about 1-2 years old. Spice is sweet and loving toward humans. Shelter caregivers have observed no aggression. Spice is not yet neutered, due to the pending court decision.

Mama  ~  Mama, a brindle/white female about 1-2 years old, is very affectionate to humans and all dogs. Terrific temperament, no aggression. She loves her puppies. Mama is currently unspayed, due to pending court case. Never fought, Mama was "used" to breed.

Mama's Puppies  ~  The babies were treated for parasites, likely the result of a neglected pregnant mom. All are playful, affectionate and lovable.
Pup 1: Dark brown/white male
Pup 2: Brown/white male
Pup 3: Brindle/white female
Pup 4: Tan/white female
Pup 5: White/tan female