We’re all aware of the devastating number of wildlife casualties due to the Gulf oil spill. But other animals are suffering as well – family pets surrendered to shelters due to their owners’ loss of income.
In the worst case since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, animal shelters in Louisiana have recently been inundated with owner-surrendered pets. Some shelters are at five times their capacity.
“Our intakes here have been triple, between owner surrender and strays coming in,” Shannon Asevedo of the St. Bernard Parish Animal Control Center told wdsu.com. She said in May 2009, the shelter took in 60 animals. This year it took in 288.
In a few weeks, the Louisiana SPCA will begin a new program to help the situation. The organization will provide free basic services, vaccinations, spay and neuter, microchipping and food to pets in communities affected by the oil spill.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is also helping out. Earlier this week its animal rescue team took a 20-hour road trip, transporting 33 orphaned dogs from overburdened Louisiana shelters to Washington, D.C., where the pups are now waiting for their furever homes at no-kill shelters.
Among the transported dogs were Rocky, Gizmo and Trixie, three Shih Tzus that had belonged a fisherman who lost his job. “A lot of what we found is people either unfortunately lost their jobs or they had to move or they couldn’t afford the vet care,” Julia Breaux of the HSUS told wdsu.com. “Or if they have to move, they have to turn their pets over to shelters.”
Last month the HSUS also arranged for the delivery of more than 12 tons of pet food to shelters as well as Louisiana pet owners in the fishing industry who are facing economic hardship. The food was donated by Mars Petcare U.S. and The Humane Choice Company.
You can help out by adopting a dog from or making a donation to these shelters. i Love Dogs will be collecting donations for the Louisiana SPCA at our next Mojitos and Mutts event on July 28 at the Hotel Maya in Long Beach, Calif.
PHOTOS: wdsu.com, prweb.com