Print|Email|Text Size: ||
Treading Water

“We have an opportunity to maintain a low stray population,” says Maloney, “but there are several challenges. As a community, residents are in the bad habit of allowing animals to roam and leaving them intact. So if they’re allowed to roam and they’re breeding, we’re quickly going to get back to where we were.


“Another challenge is achieving a balance between well-meaning people feeding the strays who remain and [the LA/SPCA] capturing them. The only reason animals generally enter a trap is because there’s food and they’re hungry. If they have easy access to food, they’re difficult to capture. There really needs to be a coordinated effort, and we’re trying to coordinate with some of the feeders here.”


Katrina exposed many of New Orleans’ problems, all of which existed before the storm, animal welfare certainly being one of them. But despite many setbacks, including the loss of its 9th Ward shelter and veterinary clinic, and making do with fewer, less-experienced staff and an old, leaky warehouse, LA/SPCA is back on track with its adoption, volunteer and education programs. Discount microchipping events and low-cost spay/neuter events —such as hosting the “Big FIX Rig,” a 53-foot-long, mobile, high-volume spay/neuter clinic—have all generated enthusiastic crowds.


Different Regions, Different Attitudes

Rescuers and animal lovers outside the Gulf Coast were shocked at the number of intact animals in Louisiana and Mississippi, a circumstance that presented an ongoing challenge for animal welfare organizations in the region long before Katrina. Virginia Rankin, media director for St. Francis Animal Sanctuary in Tylertown, Miss., says, “My dad, who is 88, will spay his female but will not [neuter] his boy. There’s no way to argue with him, he’s not going to do it. He’s 88. I’m not going to bang my head on that brick wall.”


However, Rankin will not hesitate to raise the issue with others if she thinks she can get through. “In Lakeview [a neighborhood in New Orleans], an intact dog came running up to me. There shouldn’t be an intact animal for a thousand miles!” The dog had a collar and tags so she was able to find the owners and ask why he wasn’t neutered. When they said they hadn’t had a chance to do it, she offered to make the appointment.


Spay Louisiana, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making high-quality sterilization more accessible for all, estimates that there are more than 425,000 intact pets in the state, and of those, more than 88,000 live in low-income homes. These numbers do not include stray dogs and cats. Thanks to generous grants from larger national humane organizations, such as the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States, Spay Louisiana is offering spay/neuter vouchers, which are available at distribution partners such as the LA/SPCA. Residents of the four parishes most severely affected by the hurricane can take these vouchers to participating area veterinarians and have their animals altered for only $20 per dog and $10 per cat. In addition, Spay Louisiana plans to open a Southeast Regional Spay/Neuter Clinic in late 2006 or early 2007 to further its mission over the long haul.


On August 31, 2006, the LA/SPCA broke ground on its new 11-acre campus in Algiers, on New Orleans’ West Bank. It will be built in three phases, starting with the Phase I, state-of-the-art animal control facility in January 2007. Phase II will feature an adoption and education center, and Phase III will offer community programs as well as obedience classes and competitive agility trials.


CommentsPost a Comment
Please note comments are moderated. After being approved your comment will appear below.
Submitted by Karen Peckham | February 16 2010 |

A Canadian dog lover and owner of a precious golden retriever, it is unimaginable to me what happened after Katrina to make this disaster even more devastating for pets and owners who thought of their animals as lone companions, best friends, and even family members as our Hudson is, too. I would hope and pray such a system was in place that if dog or child, ALIKE, were ever misplaced, I would have a BETTER chance of reuniting with them than government or rescuers made possible for victims in this sad circumstance. Malvin Cavalier was truly BLESSED to have a shining light, like Sandra Bauer, advocating for him and Bandit... GOD BLESS HER!

Submitted by Pete Milliet | April 26 2010 |

I was wondering if you could help me out. I am trying to get in touch with Sandra Bauer from Ontario Canada. I recently saw her on a video called "Mine". I just want to drop her an email and tell her what a wonderful job she did reuniting Bandit back to his owner Malvin from News Orleans. Keep up the great work. We need more people like you & SV to help our PETS!!!! Thanks....

Submitted by Lisa Wogan | April 26 2010 |

Try contacting her through the film's website at http://www.minethemovie.com/contact-us/ I'm sure she'd love to hear supportive comments.

Submitted by Travis Seek | August 30 2010 |

I just ran across this story. I was the Crew Chief in this flight. Wha a great event, we got to help out a family and even though they were almost ready to go with out there beloved dogs. Me and my junior crewman were not going to let that happen. We just had one thuht in our minds, " what if is was our pets! " Hope this family is doing good and enjoying there pets. One of my greatest memories!


More From The Bark

More in Humane:
Rolling Dog Ranch
Southern Dogs
Q&A with the Inmate Trainers of Freedom Tails
No Kill Nation
Saving City Dogs
Go Walk Shelter Dogs
Sanctuary Trend in Sheltering
Bringing Calming Music to Shelter Dogs
Animal-Kind International
Why Foster? Make a Dog Ready for a New Home