ARNO on Inside Edition

Although the city of New Orleans is only half it's pre-Katrina population, the number of dogs has remained high. As some New Orleans homes lie empty and abandoned, they are still providing shelter for many four-legged victims of the disaster.

Even 18 months after Katrina, many pets who were separated from their owners by the storm, are now living wild.

Pet-lover Robin Beaulieu runs an organization called Animal Rescue New Orleans. She spends her days and often her nights too, touring the city in her converted school bus, rounding up strays, sometimes using humane traps to catch them. Often the dogs are mangy and scared.

"I would say several thousand former pets are on the streets still today," Robin told INSIDE EDITION.

Robin worries over the fate of pets that have had to live wild in the 18 months since Katrina. "It's very difficult for a domesticated animal to fend for itself," Robin said.

One reason former pets have a hard time is because where there are no people, there's no thrown-away food to scavenge. As a substitute, the packs of now-wild dogs often attack and eat rats, and even cats.

The former pets are often purebred dogs, and stick out amongst the strays.

Tina Bernard is animal control officer for one New Orleans parish and says owners are still coming in to her shelter trying to find the pets they lost during the chaos of Katrina. She can only describe the situation as "heartbreaking."

Volunteers like Pam Leavy place food wherever there's a sighting of strays, but their efforts are often in vein.

"I've seen as time goes on, there are less and less dogs out, and it's not because we're getting them, it's because they just weren't making it," Pam said.

For more information, contact:

Animal Rescue New Orleans
271 Plauche Street
New Orleans, LA 70123
Voicemail: 504-571-1900

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