Great Letter from St. Bernard Parish Animal Control

This is an email that Ceily sent to a volunteer who is involved in (yet) another problem situation with a shelter. Please forward this to every shelter, rescue group or individual who is refusing to return and reunite a Katrina pet.

What people don't seem to understand is that these pets were never abandoned. They are owned pets and the owner will have every right to claim them. The dates set by HSUS to allow them to be adopted are actually in place to protect the satellite shelter from liability arising from sterilizing the pets or, should the pets die while under treatment for heartworm, for example. No one, especially loving owners, ever wanted these animals to spend such a long time in a shelter situation.

No one is asking shelters to hold the cats indefinitely in cages. Go ahead and adopt them out, but the law is on the side of the original owners. So far one case has gone to court and the owner won (Chopper in New Jersey). At least one other case I'm aware of has been filed. Louisiana law is plain; I have no doubt that any cases that end up in court will be won by the original owner.

The right thing to do is to tell potential adopters the FACTS. Let them be aware of what may happen if an owner comes forward. I know you think that enough time has passed, but only 8,000 residents (out of 67,000) have returned to St. Bernard Parish; the rest of our residents are scattered across the country! Our parish is still devastated and will be for years to come. We have lost literally everything; all we have left is our pets.

Granted, many will never look for their pets. But I guarantee you that the owners whose pets are considered a part of their family will never give up and never stop looking for their pets.

If the cats from St.Bernard Parish are such a burden to this shelter, I will be glad to have them returned to St. Bernard where they will be cherished until claimed by their owners or adopted by loving families that have enough compassion to realize the scope of the devastation we have experienced.

Thank you for keeping them so far, but let's make arrangements for them to come home.

Ceily Trog
Manager, St. Bernard Parish Animal Control
504 278-4317

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