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Plight of Stranded Animals Worsening Daily

Veterinarian Jocelyn Crawford of the Washington Animal Rescue League examines hurricane evacuee Sky at the league's offices in the District.
Veterinarian Jocelyn Crawford of the Washington Animal Rescue League examines hurricane evacuee Sky at the league's offices in the District. (By Gerald Martineau -- The Washington Post)

The animals brought to the armory are kept in cages and examined by veterinarians. Arthur, a large dog, had an eye infection and was too excitable to stay with his owner, Pane said. He is at the city's animal shelter, where his owner can visit.

In Louisiana, pet-friendly shelters are in short supply, said Joelle Rupert, who runs Animal Aid for Vermilion Area, a refuge in Abbeville, about 150 miles west of New Orleans.

"If there would have been something that was people/pet friendly, a lot of people would have left" before Katrina struck, she said. "They didn't want to get separated from pets. They are like members of the family."

Rupert said that pet owners have been turned away from motels and that a small Baptist church is the only place in Vermilion Parish offering shelter to families with pets. She said she is providing pet supplies to those who have managed to find housing.

In Natchitoches, a town about 275 miles northwest of New Orleans, the animal shelter was filled yesterday, making it harder to find room for newly found strays.

"I know one of the vets just took in five parakeets," said Tammy Hamm, the shelter's supervisor. "The owner . . . doesn't know how long she's going to be out of a home."

Two 8-month-old Shih Tzus arrived yesterday, brought in by a woman who said her husband refused a boat ride out of his New Orleans home because he couldn't bring his dogs with him. The shelter has taken in 15 pets, mostly dogs that are very attached to their owners.

"All of them have been in good condition," Hamm said. "But they are upset, withdrawn, and they are not eating. They are as traumatized as the people are."


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