A Word From Russ Vaughn

The following is a letter I received from Russ Vaughn with a plea not to forget the animals abandoned and injured in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Helping the least among us

The outpouring of contributions to the victims of Katrina from their fellow Americans is both unprecedented and laudable. Despite the disgraceful attempts by contemptible opportunists like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to use this terrible tragedy to drive one more wedge between Americans, we see through them and past them; we are here to help our brothers and sisters regardless of their genesis. Look at those ubiquitous aerial photos of the devastation left in Katrina’s path and tell me who, among her many victims, rich or poor, black or white, is not worthy of our sympathy and support.

But least among them are those, who in their former lives gave the most comfort to those now displaced and hurting to a degree most of us will never ever approximate. And within their ranks of these left-behinds there is no such thing as being black, white, rich or poor; they are merely pets, cats, dogs, birds, whatever, but all unconditional friends to those who have, by necessity, left them behind.

When the authoritative call for evacuation comes, priorities must be established quickly and the exigencies of human survival may doom the fate of those who have been friends and companions for years. It’s quite frankly and quite tragically, a disaster-imposed Sophie’s Choice; we must, at great peril to our souls, decide who will flee with us and who will be abandoned to face alone the wrath of the storm and the terrible consequences of survival once the storm has passed.

So often, those left behind are those who have given to their masters undying devotion and unqualified love. And we leave them. We leave them alone to face what we are far more qualified to deal with, but will not and cannot face. Imagine for a moment the bewilderment they must feel when those who have provided for them all their lives suddenly depart and leave them to face the howling winds and rising waters that they cannot begin to comprehend. Imagine the terror they must feel.

I do not write this to be condemnatory nor accusatory but simply to make you pause and think when you’re writing those checks to various relief organizations. I would ask that you consider reserving some of your monetary support for those organizations that are now in the stricken areas doing whatever they can to save those least among us, who were truly left behind, those unfortunate and now starving cats, dogs, birds and other pets for whom life is no longer easy in the Big Easy.

Good Americans, please Google “Katrina Pet Relief” and contribute to the organizations you find there. The Humane Society website indicates they are in the disaster areas in strength and actively saving abandoned pets.

Help them.

Russ Vaughn 9 09 05

To donate click on the links below.

American Humane Association

ASPCA

Pet Finder.com has created a data base to help reunite pet owners with their pets.

Shelters and Hotlines

Louisiana residents If you are in Louisiana, please call toll-free (888) 773-6489 between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm. All others, please call (225) 925-3980 between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm (a toll-free number for out-of-state callers is being established).

Evacuees can house their animals at the following temporary animal shelters, owners are required to come by twice a day to care for their pets.

Lamar-Dixon Expo Center 9039 St. Landry Road, Gonzales, LA
Blackham Coliseum Cajundome Blvd. Lafayette
LSU Agriculture Center @ Parker Coliseum Baton Rouge
Ike Hamilton Center (large animals) 501 Mane Street, West Monroe
Monroe Civic Center (small animals) 401 Lea Joyner Memorial Expressway, Monroe

Mississippi Residents: A temporary animal shelter has been set up at the State Fairgrounds in Jackson, MS at the intersection of I-55 and High Street for more information you can call 800-252-0923.

National Hotline for reporting lost pets 1-888-pets-911

One Response to A Word From Russ Vaughn

  1. Yes indeed, a worthy cause. The issue of pets is something I thought about during the crisis also. I know that I would not leave my cats unless it came to it where my life depended on it. I’d do all that I could to take them along.