“I don’t think the world realized what pets mean to people before Katrina. Now they know there’s a human–animal bond that can’t be broken…Hurricane Katrina was a watershed moment in our history with pets. For the first time, the entire country realized just how much we cared for these animals — and just how much we were willing to sacrifice for them.” – Charlotte Bass Lilly
These quotes were taken from an article written by David Grimm titled, “How Hurricane Katrina Turned Pets Into People”
Left without food or shelter, it has been estimated that over 600,000 pets perished as a result of this super storm. Many hearts were broken over being forced to leave pets behind. Some people chose to remain with their pets and “ride it out”, losing their own lives as a result.
The Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act, signed into law by President George W. Bush October 6, 2006 and now known as Public Law 109-308 was introduced at the federal level in 2005 when the heartbreaking impact of having to leave animals behind due to emergency evacuation in the face of a disaster became a national outcry.
Katrina catapulted animal welfare to national attention when the nation tuned in to the horrific aftermath of that powerful storm and witnessed the devastation and the resulting thousands of poor helpless animals that had to be abandoned by their owners through no choice of their own. At the time this disaster occurred, if you were rescued, you were NOT allowed to bring your companion animals with you.
Ultimately, thousands of animals were rescued and were relocated to other communities all across the country. These animals were true rescues in need and spawned what has now become a burgeoning rescue industry all across the nation, some of it legitimate and much of it not.