“The greatness of a nation,
And its moral progress,
Can be judged,
By the way its animals are treated.”
Dogs first befriended man
Many thousands of years ago
And cats since the days of ancient Egypt
Have managed to purr their way into our souls
Yet somewhere along mankind’s long line of history
We somehow lost our respect for these noble creatures
The callous way that we very often treat them these days
Is surely not one of modern man’s most redeeming features
Months after Hurricane Katrina wreaked her destruction
There are still many starving dogs and cats on the coast
And many of them have now turned untrusting and wild
Having been forsaken by beings they had loved the most
Once very faithful dogs have now formed wild packs
After being left behind by their once trusted human friends
And once very content domesticated cats have now gone feral
On their ancient survival instincts they’ve been forced to depend
And these once very docile and trusting ‘left behind’ pets
Will most likely never be able to trust we human beings again
What we all permitted to happen to them in Hurricane Katrina
Is surely not a very proud legacy to future generations we send
Far too many of these once cared for and domesticated animals
Will now live out their days in the desperate shadows until they die
Both from starvation and by being struck by uncaring vehicles
And these are the images that now haunt every pet rescuer’s eyes
We rescuers sincerely pray that our government has now grown a lot wiser
We all pray that pet owners will never again be forced to leave them behind
We pray that we’ve all now learned a valuable lesson from Hurricane Katrina
For the pain in these ‘left behind’ eyes will live on forever in our troubled minds
©2005, Ed Kostro
Many abandoned Hurricane Katrina dogs and cats are still very sadly wandering the Gulf Coast, months after the storm has passed; they have now begun to fear man; and they have been forced to forget their former human families forever in their woefully tragic efforts to survive.
Many of these once cared for creatures are now living in abandoned buildings, in junked cars, under bridges, in culverts and bushes, and even deep within many of the sewer systems of coastal cities and towns – any possible place at all where they can hide.
And most of them are desperately attempting to survive on garbage, and on tiny discarded tidbits occasionally tossed their way by some kind hearted passerby. And, very sadly, most of them are dying.
.The average life span of a feral cat or a wild dog in America today is only about two years. And Hurricane Katrina has now added many more to their desperate ranks.
And the offspring of these abandoned pets who somehow manage to survive long enough to reproduce will now also woefully add to the extremely severe, ever increasing, discarded pet overpopulation problem in this country.
The dangers facing them include starvation, de-hydration, traffic injuries, other animals, heat and cold, disease, poisoning, and extremely callous human beings who have already begun growing impatient with these now wild and haggard storm orphans – who, through no fault of their own - are simply attempting to survive.
And although rescue operations continue, it grows more difficult with each passing day for rescuers to coax them from their deep dark hiding places.
The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that between 40-50,000 pets lived in New Orleans alone prior to Hurricane Katrina. Thousands of them died in the storm, and thousands of them were rescued by compassionate souls.
But now, thousands more will reproduce and then die on the mean city streets, in abandoned buildings, in deserted warehouses and basements, and on isolated coastal highways, because they were so tragically, and so callously, left behind – by all of us.
Please spay and neuter your pets; please don’t allow them to roam unattended; please renew your compassion for all living beings; and please treat all of our earthly neighbors as you, yourself, would want to be treated should the next major catastrophe strike your neighborhood.