Plea For Elderly Katrina Victim And Her Pup
1/30/07, Pinckney A. Wood
~ Hurricane Katrina floods displaced Ms. Vogel and her Pomeranian, Cuddles, from their Lakeview apartment. The elderly woman has since discovered that her niece caused her financial catastrophe. The niece used Ms. Vogel as co-signer on a loan to purchase a pre-Katrina house in LaPlace, LA, the trashed and abandoned this home. She also maxed out two of Ms. Vogel's credit cards. Police have been contacted. Please read the account below by New Orleans veterinarian Dr. Amy Grayson, an exceptional and charitable vet who has taken Ms. Vogel under her wing.
Make A Tax-Deductible Donation To Humane Heart Fund
Memo: Ms. Vogel Assistance
Vogel Fund c/o Dr. Amy Grayson
Lakeview Veterinary Hospital
6245 Memphis Street / New Orleans, LA 70124
Katrina floods wiped out Lakeview Veterinary Hospital, but it operates from a temp Memphis Street building.
Dr. Amy Grayson, Member, Louisiana Animal Welfare Commission
Pinckney A. Wood, President
Humane HEART (Health, Education, and Abuse Resolution Taskforce)
Damaged In Katrina Floods:
401 Polk Avenue / New Orleans, LA 70124
6001 Colbert Street / New Orleans, LA 70124
From New Orleans Veterinarian Dr. Amy Grayson ~
Poor Ms. Vogel, and her little Pomeranian, Cuddles, have been the victim of identity theft. The thief was her own niece who in addition to maxing out two credit cards, also purchased a home in LaPlace. The home was purchased 20 days before the hurricane and listed Ms. Vogel as a co-signer. The home was undamaged in the hurricane but the niece supposedly lost her job after the hurricane and stopped paying the mortgage note. From the pictures, you can also see that she trashed the house. Ms. Vogel contacted the mortgage company, and they have put a hold on the mortgage payments for 3 month. At that time, Ms. Vogel must come up with the entire balance due!
Ms. Vogel, a retired school teacher, lost everything to Katrina. She rented a Lakeview apartment on Milne St. and lost clothes, furniture, family heirlooms, etc. She and Cuddles have rented an apartment uptown that doesn't even have heat! It's all she can afford right now. She even stopped wearing her hearing aids because she left them at Milne St. and they were destroyed in the flood. She had no renters/flood insurance and can't afford new hearing aids. All she has left is little Cuddles. Ms. Vogel is very embarrassed by the situation. The police are involved. She is ashamed of her niece. Ms. Vogel worries that she is the mother of two small children. Please pass the word to anyone you know that may be able to contribute money, if not time. We can't let a sweet old lady like Ms. Vogel be victimized like this. Thanks, Amy
Update: Buddy's Law Dies
A Baby Treated Worse Than Trash
Kinship Circle ~ Buddy, a 16-week-old Labrador retriever, was left for dead inside a diaper box at road's edge in Gautier, MS. The puppy's eyes, ears, throat and mouth were sealed in PVC pipe glue. Mississippi animal cruelty law lacks felony penalties, so at best the perpetrator will get six months incarceration or pay a meager fine. Katrina blew the lid off a Pandora's box of antiquated laws and social systems. With animals, we saw neglect, abuse, and scant cruelty law enforcement. Many animals needed rescue long before the storm. Mississippi has some of the most lax animal cruelty laws in the nation.
2/12/07 Buddy's Law Dies By Cherie Ward, The Mississippi Press ~
The fight to change the animal cruelty penalties in Mississippi is over. Rep. John Reed said nine versions of a bill making extreme acts animal cruelty a felony died before the House and the Senate.
Animal cruelty became a strong focus in Mississippi last July when Buddy, a 16-week-old Labrador was found in Gautier tortured with PVC pipe glue and left for dead. The puppy was later euthanized by a local veterinarian. Mississippi is one of only eight states with no felony provision for extreme acts of cruelty. "I would have really like to have seen a change," Reed said.
A campaign to change the animal cruelty law was launched as animal lovers and activists nationwide spoke out in support of a revised Mississippi law, in place since 1972. House Bill 1538 would have enforced a misdemeanor for acts of simple animal cruelty, such as neglect and abandonment, and a felony for malicious abuse and torture. Senate Bill 2097 also distinguished misdemeanor and felony charges for animal cruelty. Both bills died before the Agriculture and Judiciary B committees on Jan. 30.
Mississippi House Judiciary B Committee Chairman Jeff Smith, who presented House Bill 1538, and Rep. Erik Fleming heard testimony on Jan. 25 from local and national animal cruelty experts at a hearing in Jackson concerning increased penalties. While bills to correct the issue have been introduced in years past, none have made it to the point of a hearing, which encouraged several organizations supporting the change.
Wanda Henry Jacobs, publisher of The Mississippi Press, told committee members the paper received more than three dozen letters to the editor in response to an article about Buddy last year. The paper collected $3,000+ in reward money from local readers, plus over 12,000 signatures on a petition demanding stronger laws. Humane Society of South Mississippi's Joe Elmore asked committee members to champion the effort. "We need felony level penalties for extreme acts of animal cruelty," Elmore said.
Dr. Mary Lou Randour, a psychologist and animal cruelty expert with Humane Society of the U.S., said animal abuse can lead to malignant treatment towards people. "There's a clearly documented link between animal cruelty and human violence. Often, people who abuse animals become violent criminals who are a threat to society. Felony level penalties are critical to preventing future acts of violence," Randour said.
Action: We Owe It To Buddy To Pass SB 2499
Since this update about failure to pass Buddy's Law, the bill has been reintroduced as Senate Bill 2499. SB 2499 upgrades domesticated animal abuse to a felony crime, punishable by up to five years prison and a $10,000 fine. It directs the court to mandate psychological evaluation of convicted abusers. Ask MS Senators to schedule SB 2499 for a committee hearing and vote for its passage.
Senator Gray Tollison
Senate Judiciary Committee, Division B Chairman
Room 409A, P.O. Box 1018
Jackson, MS 39215
Senator Michael Watson
Senate Judiciary Committee, Division B Vice-Chairman
P.O. Box 1018
Jackson, MS 39215