DawnWatch: Wall Street Journal front page of emergency evacuation with pets 6/8/06

June 8th, 2006 10:43 pm by Kelly Garbato

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From: DawnWatch – news [at] dawnwatch [dot] com
Date: Jun 8, 2006 6:30 PM
Subject: DawnWatch: Wall Street Journal front page of emergency evacuation with pets 6/8/06

The Thursday, June 8, Wall Street Journal has a front page story headed, “In Case of Disaster, Mr. Milelli Has Plans For You and Your Dog.”

It opens:

“Moved by the images of teary residents who resisted leaving their flooded homes after Hurricane Katrina because they couldn’t take their pets with them, Paul Milelli hit upon a plan to shelter man and beast together in public schools.

“‘Pets and people in our minds have to go together,’ says Mr. Milelli, Palm Beach County’s director of Public Safety. ‘It undermines our efforts to get vulnerable people out of harm’s way if they don’t want to leave Fifi or Fido behind.’

“But Mr. Milelli and other emergency managers are finding that placing loved pets with their owners under one roof isn’t easy. Palm Beach County’s school board recently refused to participate in his plan for so-called pet-friendly shelters because it feared lawsuits. The concern: Pet dander would get into a ventilation system, trigger an asthma attack or other allergic reaction in a student or school staff member long after a storm has passed.”

The article notes people who would not leave without their pets, or even died trying to save them.

We read:

“Congress is drafting bills that would require states to draw up plans to shelter animals or risk losing federal disaster funding. One bill has already passed the House.”

And:

“Craig Fugate, Florida’s director of emergency management, says that not having a place for pets ultimately means that people will get hurt. ‘When we have to go door by door searching for people who didn’t leave their homes because of their pets, it’s not a pet issue — it’s a people issue,’ he says.

“But there are practical challenges on the ground to animal sheltering. Red Cross shelters, citing health and hygiene reasons, have never allowed people to bring pets with them.”

Those in New York should know that Mayor Bloomberg ended the likelihood of their evacuating easily with their animals:

“The New York City Transit Authority recently ran into a political storm after it proposed policy changes allowing New Yorkers to board subway trains and buses with their dogs and cats if an emergency evacuation of the city is ordered. Mayor Michael Bloomberg immediately attacked the idea. ‘We have to evacuate human beings,’ he said at a news conference late last month. ‘And that is where our priority has to be.'”

The rest of the article focuses on the challenge of finding appropriate pet shelter buildings in Florida. You can read it on line at http://tinyurl.com/pprf2. That link should work for the next seven days for those who do not subscribe to the Wall Street Journal.

The article, particularly with its front page placement, provides a great opportunity for animal friendly letters to the editor. The Wall Street Journal takes letters at wsj.ltrs [at] wsj [dot] com

Always include your full name, address, and daytime phone number when sending a letter to the editor. Shorter letters are more likely to be published.

Or you can thank the journalist, Robert Block, at bobby.block [at] wsj [dot] com

Yours and the animals’,
Karen Dawn

(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at http://www.DawnWatch.com. To unsubscribe, go to http://www.dawnwatch.com/cgi-bin/dada/dawnwatch_unsubscribe.cgi
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