August 29, 2017

Harvey's dogs, Katrina's dogs.

We're seeing lots of people + dogs rescues. Here's a NYT article "Saving Pets Is Paramount for Many Fleeing Tropical Storm Harvey."

But there's no reminder of how different things were with Katrina in 2005. Here's an article in Buzzfeed from a few years ago, "How Hurricane Katrina Turned Pets Into People/After Katrina, animal rescuers saved thousands of New Orleans' cats and dogs — and in the process, elevated the status of pets in the eyes of the law":

Nearly half the people who stayed behind during Katrina stayed because of their pets. Helicopters and boats would come, but the rescuers largely refused to take cats and dogs. So many owners, unwilling to abandon a family member, refused to go — and many of them died.

Others did leave their pets, convinced they would be able to retrieve them in a few days. But officials kept them out for weeks, leaving the animals to fend for themselves. Dogs waited on rooftops, cats clung to debris in toxic waters, and pets starved to death in barricaded homes....

The public flooded Congress with letters, and in 2006 the legislature — despite being bitterly divided over war, immigration, and seemingly every other issue — passed the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act with near unanimous support.

That law, which impels rescue agencies to save pets as well as people during natural disasters, and the public outcry that inspired it, marked a turning point in our relationship with cats and dogs....
Much more at the link. I didn't realize the rescuers were required to save pets.

60 comments:

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Not actually OK with that.

traditionalguy said...

Zeus has friends, and knowing that comforts me.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

When every human is safe, then perhaps people can get started on pets.

Rob said...

The law needs to be fine-tuned to provide that dogs should be saved first, people second, cats third, other pets last.

Oso Negro said...

It wasn't enough to save Rookie the parrot.

Ann Althouse said...

"When every human is safe, then perhaps people can get started on pets."

I'm inclined to say that too, but what was seen in Katrina was people not evacuating because they needed to stay with dogs and children becoming hysterical when forced to separate from their dogs. Not letting people take their dogs may slow everything down, and humanity toward dogs may help keep everyone in a good mood and willing to keep trying and keep helping.

traditionalguy said...

Rob is a specieseist. Cats are totally equal to dogs. It's in the 14th Amendment, I think.

rehajm said...

You don't want to incentivize staying.

Not allowing people to return after storms also incentivizes staying.

Fernandinande said...

Morgan’s story is far from unique. ..."Had I known she couldn’t come with me, I would have stayed."

I was too dumb to figure out what his story was - did he stay with his dog or leave without it? Since he did know "we're not in the dog business", because they told him, I guess he stayed...but then he makes that conditional?

Nearly half the people who stayed behind during Katrina stayed because of their pets.

So most people who stayed did so for other reasons.

A few day ago some Texas official was saying that it's illegal to leave an animal tied up during a (emergency/hurricane/whatever).

I wouldn't leave my dogs.

Sebastian said...

"Not allowing people to return after storms also incentivizes staying." Even more things incentivize being. Starting with subsidies for building in unsafe places, then the notion that you will be rescued--even if with your pet if you turn "hysterical"--no matter what, then tens of billions of dollars to rebuild in the same area that has just been devastated and will be devastated again. NO is a crime against nature and common sense. I am fine with people living in Houston and Miami and LA, but would like them to pay the true cost of living. Only nationally significant infrastructure (ports, some energy production facilities) should receive federal support.

Oso Negro said...

@Sebastian - There is something to worry about everywhere.

Freeman Hunt said...

If rescue efforts are more successful when pets are included, we should include pets. Focus on the objective.

Big Mike said...

You don't want to incentivize staying.

rehajm summarizes the issue very succinctly.

Browndog said...

For many, their dog is their life. Leaving them isn't even a possibility, let alone a thought.

Katrina taught rescuers and law enforcement a hard lesson, now no pet will denied being rescued with their family.

Nonapod said...

Understandable. In most cases pets are basically members of the family and are very much loved as such.

stever said...

I think if you won't leave your pet, in the event of a need to evacuate in an emergency, you should not live in a flood zone.

Renee said...

I am definitely in the humans over other animals point of view, but here is the problem when we domesticated dogs and cats we made them dependent on us for their needs. We have laws that punish individuals the abandonment and abuse/neglect of domestic pets. Cats and dogs are not equal to humans in life and death situations, but we also created an environment in which we are held to an higher obligation to their well being compared to wildlife.

To add it irks me when people get a pet without understanding all the obligations to having one. You are bringing an ANIMAL into your house, you need at least a carrier if you want a pet for these types of situations. But I also think it's cruel when people let their dog hand out of the car when driving, what if you were in a car accident and the dog goes flying!!!

WeRetort said...

How about, "you should not live in a flood zone."

rehajm said...

Dogs pushed all in with people thousands of years ago.

Or perhaps they were pushed, but same diff at this point.

Fernandinande said...

Sebastian said...
NO is a crime against nature and common sense.


John McPhee's The Control of Nature is definitely worth a read.

Browndog said...

Odd, I don't see a whole lot of virtue signaling when a video of people saving a dog from flood waters, icey pond, or forest fire makes the nightly news.

TosaGuy said...

If you would abandon your pet in this situation, please never get another pet.

I've worked with emergency planning, figuring pets into the equation isn't that big of a deal if it means ultimate success in getting people out.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I agree with Renee. We have domesticated these animals and made them not only dependent upon us, but have made them a part of our family.

Would you abandon your child? Your grandmother? I would HOPE not. How can you abandon an animal who is counting on you and which cannot understand what is going on? Leaving them alone, stranded, no food, frightened, confused.

If there is anyway possible to save the humans AND their pets. To allow people to secure their livestock it should be done. Sometimes it is not possible when events are so dire and quickly progressing. A wild fire racing towards your home at 14 mph....you don't have time to find Fluffy the cat, who is doing what a cat will likely do...hide.

For the government to force you to make that choice and force you to literally abandon your pet is unconscionable, cruel and counter productive. If I can take my pet with me, I would be more likely to go and go quickly. If not, DON'T make me fight you to get it done.

You can replace the things in your life: TV, furniture, house etc. You cannot replace living beings.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Dust Bunny Queen said...

You cannot replace living beings.

Large numbers of goldfish, gerbils, and hermit crabs could not be reached for comment.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Focus on the objective."

-- Good advice that almost every company, government and individual can probably reflect on.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Large numbers of goldfish, gerbils, and hermit crabs could not be reached for comment.

I would save those too, if I could. You can always stuff a gerbil......in your pocket. Hermit crabs too. The goldfish might need a thermos bottle, a Tupperware container with a lid or even a ziplock baggie. Although the goldfish in Houston would probably be ok in the water since a goldfish is essentially a carp.

Where there is a will there is a way.

LYNNDH said...

Misplaced his pants misplaced something else.
I would NEVER leave my cats. They are family, dependent on me and me on them. I will not say more.

Rabel said...

The law cited allows for federal relief money to be used to provide for pet rescue, sheltering and planning. I don't see any text requiring it.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Where there is a will there is a way.

My point was not that they could not be saved. My point was that many such living beings have been replaced. Circle of life.

hombre said...

Secular progressives have pets instead of children. Secular progressive women promote abortion, but pose naked to save animals.

It's great to save animals from disaster, but if time and resources are at a premium, as they always are, I would prefer to see people saved. That's just me. I'm afraid I'm unfit for Congress, but I already knew that.

Spiros Pappas said...

I wonder if the mayor of Houston game theoried this thing? His decision not to evacuate has likely saved hundreds of lives (including the lives of hundreds of dogs and cats)! Hundreds of car accidents have been avoided. And virtually all of the rescues are being done by average citizens. The police and fire fighters aren't going to risk their lives for these people and they're not doing a damn thing. Obviously, the mayor knows his people better than his critics do. Good job!

Carter Wood said...

There we are. You're in the boat. Let's get you to safety. ... Oh, wait. Your dog is over there. Let me go get him

Don'r bother. My dog is a jerk, barking and biting. Let's just get out of here.

Fernandinande said...

"I will always strive to be the person my dog thinks I am" -- Refrigerator Magnet Company.

Achilles said...

TosaGuy said...
If you would abandon your pet in this situation, please never get another pet.

and

Fernandinande said...
"I will always strive to be the person my dog thinks I am" -- Refrigerator Magnet Company.

On the other hand Iceland eliminated Downs syndrome...

Rabel said...

People can get emotional when they don't have their dogs.

I hope that link works for you because it's wonderful.

rehajm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SukieTawdry said...

Death or grievous physical harm would have to be imminent (say my house was on fire and there wasn't time to round up animals) before I would leave my pets. I would always try to figure out something else first. On the other hand, I would never expect others to sacrifice their safety for the sake of my pets.

Fritz said...


On the other hand Iceland eliminated Downs syndrome...

So meiosis is now perfectly error free in Iceland thanks to the government, and all older Downs syndromes victims have been euthanized? Somehow I doubt it.

Browndog said...

Apparently there was a question going around on facebook yesterday: If you could only save one- a stranger or your dog?

The wife asked me that last night, and I immediately replied the stranger; no thought required. Human life is the most precious of all. She replied, "yes, that's the right answer."

Then, I thought for a second and said "Unless it's Bubba. I'd save him before I saved myself."

Without even looking up she replied "I know."

MayBee said...

Ann Althouse said...
"When every human is safe, then perhaps people can get started on pets."

I'm inclined to say that too, but what was seen in Katrina was people not evacuating because they needed to stay with dogs and children becoming hysterical when forced to separate from their dogs. Not letting people take their dogs may slow everything down, and humanity toward dogs may help keep everyone in a good mood and willing to keep trying and keep helping.


Absolutely.

I think this is a problem with pre-storm evacuations, too. If a shelter won't take pets, a lot of people would choose to take the risk of staying in place with their pets.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

My point was that many such living beings have been replaced. Circle of life.

@ IIBliss

Of course you can get a new dog, another cat, another gerbil etc. That happens all the time. But..they don't 'replace' the lost or dead pet as in being interchangeable units each equivilant to the other. I'm on my 4th cat in my lifetime: since cat #4 is becoming less able to function and may soon be introduced to the great litter box in the sky. We will be very sad when that day come and will miss her very much.

Each cat. Each dog is a distinct personality. I'm not so sure about the fish having personality or even the crab. The gerbil probably does. I've had pet rats that are distinct personalities.

My point is that you don't just discard or abandon your pets, if there is any other way to save them in a disaster. Being fully aware that you can't save everyone or everybody. But you CAN try.

I am really glad to hear that the government is allowing funds to save those that can be saved.

Achilles said...

Fritz said...

On the other hand Iceland eliminated Downs syndrome...

So meiosis is now perfectly error free in Iceland thanks to the government, and all older Downs syndromes victims have been euthanized? Somehow I doubt it.

Sadly you are right. They did it the old fashioned way. Progressives have always been proud of eugenics.

You may be new here. You will get use to the humor.

Birches said...

You don't want to incentivize staying.

Not allowing people to return after storms also incentivizes staying.


I was also inclined to go with Pants on this, but I think rehajm has the right idea.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Then, I thought for a second and said "Unless it's Bubba. I'd save him before I saved myself."

I am sorry for the humans who love you if you did such a thing.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

No, no, no. I am not abandoning my cats. Not that Salem is in any danger of flooding, and in any case we're on a steep hill. The house might conceivably slide down, but at least it won't be underwater. Our biggest worry is that massive caldera that might erupt any day now.

Browndog said...

Then, I thought for a second and said "Unless it's Bubba. I'd save him before I saved myself."

I am sorry for the humans who love you if you did such a thing


Oh, don't be sorry.

I concluded by saying "The question cannot be answered. An intellectual response to an instinctual, spur of the moment crisis can't be answered. No one knows what they will do in those circumstances."

Kevin said...

The law needs to be fine-tuned to provide that dogs should be saved first, people second, cats third, other pets last.

Close Rob. You have to recognize it will likely be the nicer neighborhoods which are on the hill and thus easier to rescue people from in the initial stages. Thus, the hierarchy is more like:

1. White people.
2. White people's dumb ass dogs.
3. White people's dumb ass cats.
4. White people's dumb ass birds.
5. White people's dumb ass snakes.
6. White people's dumb ass iguanas.
7. White people's dumb ass hamsters.
8. People of color.

Kevin said...

Apparently there was a question going around on facebook yesterday: If you could only save one- a stranger or your dog?

The wife asked me that last night, and I immediately replied the stranger; no thought required. Human life is the most precious of all. She replied, "yes, that's the right answer."


Is the human pro-choice? I don't see why we should apply our moral framework when we can just as easily apply their own.

Bonus: and also save a dog.

Kevin said...

My cat would easily fit under my coat or shirt, weighs probably 8 pounds, and wouldn't take up any additional space on a boat or helicopter.

I wouldn't leave him behind. I'd send my family ahead and consider it an honor to stay and ensure his safety.

Eleanor said...

There's a number posted on the Houston SPCA website people can call if they can't rescue their own pet. The SPCA will send someone and house your pet until you can pick it up. My dog made a donation to help support their efforts. I'm a "plan ahead" kind of person. I would have evacuated before the hurricane had a chance to make landfall, and my dog and I wouldn't be around for me to have to make a "human or dog" decision. When you have pets, you have to be more organized in your life everyday, not just when disaster strikes.

Mountain Maven said...

Quaint reminder that the loonie left loves its pets more than its fellow humans in flyover country.

MayBee said...

I think when my children were small I never could have understood the kind of love I have developed for my pet now that my children have grown.
There's....I don't know, a hormone or something in a parent of young children that makes you love and want to protect them over anything and against any odds. When I had that going on, i could never have understood this pet rescue thing.

Craig Landon said...

Those who seldom make life or death decisions don't know how to set life or death priorities. That's when self interest and self sacrifice compete. Outcomes vary.

rcocean said...

Humans over dogs?

Depends on the human.

Browndog said...

No man has the right to judge another man as to what they hold dear in life, or death.

Jamie said...

I don't know what's going on in Houston proper, but here in Katy the shelters have turned away my dog food donation (all of my donations, but the big bag of dog food is the relevant thing here) for two days running because they're oversupplied. People love pets - their own and those of others. Or at least in the abstract: I've certainly met a lot of dogs and cats I would rather not see again. But I would absolutely give a shelter this big ol' bag of dog food I have in the back of my car if anyone would take it!

I agree with whoever up-thread said "Focus on the goal" of getting the PEOPLE out, even if that means taking the animals too. Keeping pets with the family has a number of benefits, it seems to me; keeping children happy (or happier) in a shelter where they're sleeping on cots in a room full of other cots is very hard, but very important not only to that family but to all the people who also have to be around them. Pets reduce stress. Worrying about dependents in danger, including pets, increases the stress on adults responsible for them. And rescuing the pets when the people are rescued keeps everybody calmer because no one, rescuers or victims, is worrying about them. Not to say there aren't challenges: pets in a shelter cannot be happy about being as cooped up as they have to be, pets don't always get along, not everyone wants to be in a place with animals... This is a sticky wicket.

Thomas E Pyles P.A. said...

I strongly agree with TosaGuy "If you would abandon your pet in this situation, please never get another pet".

Rusty said...

The last time the Des Plaines River flooded I left my wife tied to a lamp post and saved the dog.

CStanley said...

I love pets (I'm a veterinarian) and value them very highly. I also agree about focusing on the objective but it's not a simple directive. Rescuing the pets with the people likely slows things down quite a bit and can pose risks. If time and resources are limited it might mean that fewer people can be saved.

I think the proactive efforts like allowing pets in shelters is more important (hopefully this avoids the moral hazard of people staying behind because of their pets and reduces the number of people and pets that have to be rescued after the fact.)

That isn't without difficulty either though because housing a bunch of people and pets together is not ideal, and many pets will behave erratically in the strange surroundings. These things can be worked out in advance though, and in addition to having pet friendly shelters it's helpful when there's a method for people to find pet friendly hotel accommodations when they're evacuating on their own accord. I know there was talk of setting up some networks to do this after Katrina, and vets talking about a way for people, to easily find boarding accommodations in the towns that take in storm refugees, but I'm not sure how far along they got with those plans.

BJM said...

Ironically Houston animal shelters and orgs took in the abandoned Katrina dogs.

@Achilles: Iceland hasn't eliminated Downs, they've eliminated the human fetuses with Downs. BIG difference. Wasn't there another country that eliminated "defectives"?