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September 08, 2005

Not without my anaconda

Glenn Reynolds has a list of preliminary suggestions vis a vis emergency preparedness that look sensible to me. I am particulary struck by a letter from one of his readers.

One important item you missed is providing evacuation plans for citizens with pets. One reason many people remained behind in New Orleans was that the emergency shelters barred pets, as did the buses, etc. for transporting evacuees. For many pet owners, especially childless and/or older people, pets are surrogate children. It is cruel, heartless, and unnecessary to insist, as a condition of rescue, that one's beloved dog or cat be abandoned to its fate. Were I to be told I must abandon my dogs in order to get out of a life-threatening situation, I, too, might choose to remain behind and take my chances.

Whether or not anyone thinks this is a rational choice the fact is many, many people would rather face death than abandon their pets. I am baffled why someone should be barred from shelter or transportation because of a dog or cat travelling with them.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at September 8, 2005 07:43 AM

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Comments

The "no pets" rule might seem cruelly arbitrary, but as someone with relatives who set up and supervise Red Cross shelters, I can tell you that it spares a great deal of trouble and potentially even harm. Safely supporting dozens and dozens of people crammed into a high school gymnasium for weeks on end is difficult enough without adding cats and dogs to the mix.

That said, I do know that exceptions are sometimes made out of empathy despite the official rules, depending on the circumstances.

Posted by: Varenius [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 8, 2005 01:45 PM