SWLA Puppy Boom

January 13, 2006
Reported by Libby White

People aren't the only ones displaced by the hurricanes, many pets still haven't found their way back home. Diana Morales with Calcasieu Parish Animal Control says when people evacuated for Hurricane Rita, they thought they'd be back in a day or two, so some left their pets behind with food. "When the storm hit, fences were knocked down, pets were lost. When they tried to find their way home, all their landmarks and trees were gone," said Morales. Since then, they've been trying to make happy reunions happen: "We've sent pictures through other agencies where they've driven the animals down to New Orleans and they've been able to reunite those animals and they were actually processed through our shelter," said Morales.

Since Hurricane Rita the shelter has also seen quite a puppy boom. They say they're getting at least one litter every other day. Morales explains where they're coming from: "People are finding them in fields and vacant lots and I'm assuming it's from the animals that have been displaced and have not been located by their owners." The shelter has even donated kennels and other supplies for those who've lost everything and no longer have yards for their pups to play in. "How can you lose your home and evacuate with your pet or be reunited with your pet and not be able to keep it because you're displaced or in a FEMA trailer or in a hotel," said Morales.

She offers these tips if your pet is still missing: go by the animal shelter and fill out a lost card, then come by the shelter every two or three days to look for your pet, and finally, she says don't give up.