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Author Topic: Some Katrina pets caught in custody battle
snopes
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About a dozen Katrina custody cases are wending their way through the nation's courts, all of them involving dogs.

http://www.azcentral.com/offbeat/articles/0829katrina-pets29-ON.html

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Squishy0405
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They left them behind to die...someone gave them a BETTER home, end of story. "Hoping for the best" isn't being a good pet owner. Go ahead give me the "but they had no choice" bullcrap again [Smile]

I wanted to point out THIS crappy writing: A year after Hurricane Katrina unleashed a Bible's worth of natural calamity on the Gulf Coast

I thought there were alligators not frogs, locusts & w/e else it was [fish]

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Sylvanz
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What were they supposed to do? Would these "better" owners have done any differently under the same circumstances? People did what they could. Many of these people had no choice at the time. I think there is a very socio-economic rational behind a lot of this. IMHO

P&LL, Syl

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Llewtrah
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Many people left their pets with food and water in the hope of being able to go back and get them a couple of days later, but the authorities weren't letting people back in to do that. Some were evacuated and they were forced to leave their animals behind. Many had to get their families to safety, but then weren't allowed to go back for their animals.

How many kids, seniors and dogs can you cope with at one time with rising floodwater and strong winds? I doubt the "better" owners could cope any better. Or do they have extra sets of hands?

There's always a problem with foster homes getting too emotionally attached to animals they foster and then not wanting to relinquish them. Unless the fosterers go through the same hurricane/flood situation and the same heartbreaking choices, how can they be fit to judge the owners? Maybe they think it more acceptable to leave the 2 year old child or aged/disabled relative with a box of donuts and some cans of soda while the owner got the animal to safety?

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Lainie
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quote:
Originally posted by Squishy0405:
Go ahead give me the "but they had no choice" bullcrap again.

Why don't you explain what choice you think they did have? Many of them were evacuating to shelters that would not accept pets. Should they have stayed behind and risked death for themselves and their human family members?

ETA: When was the last time you had to flee for your life?

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Astra
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quote:
Originally posted by Squishy0405:
They left them behind to die...someone gave them a BETTER home, end of story. "Hoping for the best" isn't being a good pet owner. Go ahead give me the "but they had no choice" bullcrap again [Smile]

Have you EVER evacuated for a hurricane?

Shelters do not take pets. If you drive, you usually end up getting a room at any hotel you can find an empty room at (during Katrina, I heard almost all of the hotels from here to Memphis were packed) and they may or may not allow pets.

This isn't anything new. When I lived in Florida there were always problems because some people refused to go anywhere without their pets or would try to bring them to shelters. I have heard of a few cases of people who stayed for Katrina (and died) because they were elderly people who wouldn't leave their pets behind and chose to ride out the storm. Because of this, there is talk of some organizations providing animal shelters, but I'm not sure what the status on that is.

The times that my family has evacuated, we've left the cats with food and water dispensers if it looks like the worst will be a power outage for a few days (due to the location and its structure, our house isn't likely to be damaged by the storm, but the power goes out at the drop of a hat). After Katrina though, if we leave, the cats come with us.

A lot of the people who left New Orleans were evacuated to shelters where they couldn't bring pets. There wasn't a choice (and if you want to keep thinking that's "bullcrap," well, have fun with your ignorance). Like Llewtrah said, after the storm there was no way for the owners to get back to retrieve them, either. Nobody left expecting to be stranded for months. For the people who left before the storm, the levees breaking screwed up their expectations even more.

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wanderwoman
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I've thought about this issue a lot since Katrina happened. I have a dog, 2 cats and 2 birds. There's no way I could even get them all, myself, and my son into the car at once, let alone know where I could take them if I could get them in the car. And I'm lucky enough to have a car, which many people who got stranded did not have.

I have only been evacuated once, when there was a derailment at the nearby railroad yards and something toxic might have spilled. At the time I was married and had two cats and one young child. I had to leave the cats behind because we went to my inlaws and they wouldn't let us bring the cats. If we had gone to the emergency shelter that was set up for evacuees, they wouldn't have let us bring the cats there either.

Luckily nothing came of the incident and we returned home later that day. I worried about the cats, but there wasn't much I could do about it. Perhaps there should be some provision for pet shelters when people are evacuated, so that they can leave information about the animal and can know where to find the animal when they get back home.

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Christie
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quote:
Originally posted by Squishy0405:
They left them behind to die...someone gave them a BETTER home, end of story. "Hoping for the best" isn't being a good pet owner. Go ahead give me the "but they had no choice" bullcrap again [Smile]

Then please don't give us the "serves them right" bullcrap again. And putting a smiley icon beside a nasty comment doesn't make it less nasty.

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Dog Friendly
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Please, people: Microchip your pets!

Squishy, your handle is appropriate. You have not thought this through.

Dog Friendly

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DemonWolf
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quote:
Originally posted by Dog Friendly:
Please, people: Microchip your pets!

Squishy, your handle is appropriate. You have not thought this through.

Dog Friendly

Wouldn't have made a difference in this case. Most had collars and tags, but authorities put them up for adoption anyway.

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
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Even microchipped pets have had similar issues (but hey, didn't we pretty recently discuss this?).

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Dog Friendly
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Well, yeah, I suppose if the address on the microchip is currently under water, it would be of limited use. Still, it is possible to list a secondary contact in the AVID database, and it might be a good idea to use a faraway family member or friend if you have one.

But no, there's not much that can be done if the new adopters aren't willing to try and reconnect the pets with their former owners. There were certainly a lot of people who insisted on adopting "Katrina dogs", presumably for the status value, rather than accept just any old mutt from the shelter. We had a lot of that even in California, when there were about a dozen "Katrina dogs" among a total of some fifty or so at our shelter.

I wish the authorities who put them up for adoption could have had the foresight to include a clause in the adoption contract, to the effect that in the event an original owner surfaced (ooh, poor choice of words!), they would have a prior claim.

It's true, that would likely have had a deterrent effect on some adopters, which would have meant a slower adoption rate, but dammit, the people who lost virtually everything else in their lives are now being denied the chance to reconnect with their beloved pets. That's just wrong, and I don't much care if the new family has more money or a nicer place. Or if they can afford better lawyers.

Dog Friendly

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Squishy0405
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If their pets were SO beloved, they wouldnt have left them behind. Why then is it acceptable to leave an animal behind and not a human? They were told in ADVANCE to leave and they didn't. People have legs right? Only hotels? No one could get a bus ticket? I know there are still idiots who will not evacuate in the future, then cry when everything is destroyed...some just don't learn. I can't speak for the new owners saying they wouldn't leave them behind, but they ARE in a better home for the time being since they were left to DIE. The hurricane wasn't bad, the levee break is what screwed everything. I do have sympathy for those who couldn't do anything (for example those folks in that nursing home that no one evacuated). I just don't see how it's right to leave a so called "family" member behind...and then want them back? How can you flee for your life in advance? I have not evacuated for a hurricane simply because I could not, I was under 18 and my parents didnt. Trailer with great granny & hurricane-not cool. Like I said before I'd rather have given our $ to the Tsunami relef which we didnt get around to but we did donate to Katrina...Glad I could help with your system abusing and big screen! Not that everyone is like that and nothing to do with race, but the bad ones really NFBSKed up and the people here are still richer than people in the Tsunami region any day. I will check the thread later, teething toddler & thinking don't mix well.

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LittleDuck
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From the article:
quote:
And finally, there's Chopper, who at least has some closure: In January, a New Jersey judge ordered a Flemington couple to return the black Great Dane to the owner who had left him in a Prairie, La., shelter thinking he was in safe harbor.
This one was doing what they thought was the responsible thing - they left him at a shelter and still had to fight to get him back.

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Lainie
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quote:
Originally posted by Squishy0405:
If their pets were SO beloved, they wouldnt have left them behind. Why then is it acceptable to leave an animal behind and not a human?

I love my animals dearly, but if I had to choose between saving them and saving my child, I would save my child. What would you do?

quote:
They were told in ADVANCE to leave and they didn't.
WTF? Are we talking about people who left or people who didn't? If they didn't leave, then by definition they didn't leave animals behind.

quote:
People have legs right? Only hotels? No one could get a bus ticket?
A bus ticket is not a place to stay, and people's legs will only carry them so far. How far could you walk carrying your teething toddler, your essential possessions, and your animals?

quote:
I know there are still idiots who will not evacuate in the future, then cry when everything is destroyed...some just don't learn.
Again, are we talking about people who left or people who stayed? Not that it matters, you're happy to condemn both groups.

quote:
How can you flee for your life in advance?
[Confused] How else would you do it? Afterward would be too late, wouldn't it?

quote:
I will check the thread later, teething toddler & thinking don't mix well.
I noticed.

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Llewtrah
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quote:
Originally posted by Squishy0405:
If their pets were SO beloved, they wouldnt have left them behind. Why then is it acceptable to leave an animal behind and not a human? They were told in ADVANCE to leave and they didn't. People have legs right? Only hotels? No one could get a bus ticket? ..... they were left to DIE.

They weren't left behind to die - they were left to be collected and then the authorities would not let people back to collect them.

People have legs - have you ever walked from the centre of a big city to its outskirts while carrying stuff? I have (through choice due to terror attacks on the London tube trains). It takes hours of tramping through streets. Now add "tramping through streets carrying fractious children, pets, drinking water and essential medical supplies and maybe diapers" along with high winds, belting rain, and flying and fallen debris and you have a huge logistical problem.

Bus tickets - and if the buses are all full or refuse to take animals so there is more room for humans? And the roads are getting clogged with people and debris so the buses can't get back for another load?

Squishy, I really don't believe you are thinking. I am in relatively hurricane-free Britain and I can see the logistical problems. The people who chose to ride it out had their good intentions scuppered by the levee breaking. They did what they could in the circumstances and provided food and water for their pets in what was planned to be a short-term absence (same as I use a clockwork feeder for my pets when I get sent on business for a couple of days).

It sounds like last time you went through a hurricane you had someone else to make all the decisions for you. Until you're the one making the choices on the spot when it is happening around you how will you know what choices you'll make or how your choices will be curtailed by the situation you are in?

(Having suffered floods in my previous home which was built too near a river, I've made sure I live part way up a hill this time round)

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Astra
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I'm so sorry, after 10 years of living in central Florida and 8 years of living in Mississippi, I obviously don't understand what evacuating must entail. It's clear that every person who has ever evacuated and left their pets is a lousy excuse for a human being. Bus tickets? Why didn't I think of that?! [Roll Eyes]

/shakes head

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This has been yet another... USELESS POST.

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
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quote:
Originally posted by Squishy0405:
If their pets were SO beloved, they wouldnt have left them behind. Why then is it acceptable to leave an animal behind and not a human? They were told in ADVANCE to leave and they didn't.


I wanna address this particular brand of hooey, once and for all.

80% of New Orleans residents evacuated or went to approved shelters. That is 8 out of every 10 people. Such a rate of evacuation is unheard of. So, the vast majority of people left or went to shelters.

Now, those who had to stay at shelters were not allowed to bring pets. What do you suggest they should have done? Should they have stayed in their homes with their pets?

I think you really have a fundamental misunderstanding of what was going on on the Gulf Coast in the days preceeding Katrina.

quote:
The hurricane wasn't bad, the levee break is what screwed everything.

The hurricane was bad, though. Remember what it did to the Superdome (one of those approved shelters)? And that is just New Orleans, which neglects the rest of the hurricane's path, which devestated an area about the size of Great Britain.

quote:
I do have sympathy for those who couldn't do anything (for example those folks in that nursing home that no one evacuated).
[qb]
No you don't.

quote:
[qb]I just don't see how it's right to leave a so called "family" member behind...and then want them back?

Which is why you don't have sympathy.

quote:
How can you flee for your life in advance?

Did you read the NWS warnings about the hurricane? It was frightening prescient. People were fleeing for their lives in advance.

quote:
I have not evacuated for a hurricane simply because I could not, I was under 18 and my parents didnt. Trailer with great granny & hurricane-not cool.

So is your bitterness about that the reason you have no empathy?

quote:
Like I said before I'd rather have given our $ to the Tsunami relef which we didnt get around to

You "didn't get around to?" WTF? There are still agencies working with tsunami relief that would gladly take your donation.

"Didn't get around to it." [Roll Eyes]

quote:
but we did donate to Katrina...Glad I could help with your system abusing and big screen!

I think that, perhaps, your attitude toward charitable giving is anything but charitable. So why bother doing it?

quote:
Not that everyone is like that and nothing to do with race, but the bad ones really NFBSKed up and the people here are still richer than people in the Tsunami region any day.
I just don't even know what to say to this.

quote:
I will check the thread later, teething toddler & thinking don't mix well.


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NeeCD
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First off, I think the original owners should have a chance to get their pets back, if possible. I can't even imagine leaving my pets for what I think will be a couple of days, only to see my house get flooded and not be allowed back in. That's almost worse than losing them to a fire.

What caught my attention, though, was the case where the dog had heartworms - should the original owner be able to get that animal back, in that case? What I mean is, if the hurricane had not happened (or they lived elsewhere) and they did not get proper medical treatment for their animal, would the ASPCA (or equivalent) remove the animal from the home or just educate the owner and help with getting the animal treatment? If the dog had died from the heartworms, would the owner face charges of neglect? My only knowledge of this type of thing is from Animal Cops, which gives a rather limited view of animal welfare laws, so I don't know. My concern would be that the shelter took in a sick animal, adopted it out to someone who gave it medical care (if the shelter didn't) and now the original owner wants the now-healthy animal back. I can see where the new owners would balk at giving him back.

This is tough, I can sympathize with both sides, especially since the shelters did wait extended periods of time before releasing the Katrina pets.

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wanderwoman
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quote:
Originally posted by NeeCD:
First off, I think the original owners should have a chance to get their pets back, if possible. I can't even imagine leaving my pets for what I think will be a couple of days, only to see my house get flooded and not be allowed back in. That's almost worse than losing them to a fire.

What caught my attention, though, was the case where the dog had heartworms - should the original owner be able to get that animal back, in that case? What I mean is, if the hurricane had not happened (or they lived elsewhere) and they did not get proper medical treatment for their animal, would the ASPCA (or equivalent) remove the animal from the home or just educate the owner and help with getting the animal treatment? If the dog had died from the heartworms, would the owner face charges of neglect? My only knowledge of this type of thing is from Animal Cops, which gives a rather limited view of animal welfare laws, so I don't know. My concern would be that the shelter took in a sick animal, adopted it out to someone who gave it medical care (if the shelter didn't) and now the original owner wants the now-healthy animal back. I can see where the new owners would balk at giving him back.

This is tough, I can sympathize with both sides, especially since the shelters did wait extended periods of time before releasing the Katrina pets.

I agree that there is nothing easy about this situation.

I do think that the new owners have a point in not returning the dog if the dog has clearly not been treated well prior to the hurricane.

However I don't know about laws regarding neglect of pets. For instance, I know that we have dog licensing incentives (lower price) around here to spay and neuter dogs, but it's not illegal not to spay or neuter. Likewise, are there laws that say you must give your dog heartworm preventative?

The only laws I know of regarding veterinary care are for rabies shots. Could a healthy animal be confiscated for lack of routine veterinary care? I know that there are some people here who do animal rescue and maybe they know more about this. I have heard of animals that have been taken away for severe neglect, but have never heard of it happening for lack of heartworm preventative.

I imagine neglect could be proven for untreated heartworm, but wouldn't you have to prove the person knew about it? I'm really curious about this now.

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Mistletoey Chloe
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I've had my dog for over a year now; he was found abandoned or lost, and was hungry and full of ticks, poor baby. I often wonder what my obligations would be if his original owners ever happened to see him out on a walk.

I also wonder if I'd comply with them.

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wanderwoman
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quote:
Originally posted by Chloe:
I've had my dog for over a year now; he was found abandoned or lost, and was hungry and full of ticks, poor baby. I often wonder what my obligations would be if his original owners ever happened to see him out on a walk.

I also wonder if I'd comply with them.

I found my dog under similar circustances to yours, Cloe, and feel the same way.

In the case of the pets of Katrina victims, though, wouldn't it be possible for the animals to be found hungry and full of ticks (assuming, ticks survived the hurricane, and they survive almost everything else [Eek!] ) without that being an indication that the owner did not care for them well before the hurricane hit? I think some of them were found well after the storm. I assume most were hungry and if they were able to get outside, might get ticks and burrs and such.

Advanced heartworm would be another matter, though.

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Mistletoey Chloe
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That's true. I'm not blaming the original owners for either the hunger or the ticks, and I'd like to think that he got lost rather than that some pathetic excuse for a human being abandoned him. (Because that means I don't have to hunt anyone down and kill them). I'm not at all sure I'd give him up, though, and that's as much for his own happiness as mine; he's settled. And since he wasn't microchipped, I think someone would have a hard time proving he was their baby first.

I think that maybe the Katrina pets are different, in that people would have taken them in knowing they likely had owners out there. I don't know. I think that if someone had taken in one or more of my much-loved boys for close to a year, and they seemed happy and settled, I'd let them stay. Tough call, though.

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wanderwoman
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I agree, a very tough call. The whole situation is heartbreaking.

When I get home I'm giving Frodo (my dog) a big hug.

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"But I'm adding this to my reasons why I never really liked really good looking men much. Sheesh, what good is good looking if you have to stuff a sock in his mouth." - Sara at home
NFBSK, IIRC and other mysterious Snopester language

Posts: 851 | From: Indiana | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Hubert Cumberdale
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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If you find a lost dog or cat that was not neglected by its owner and the owner shows up later to reclaim it, the right thing to do would be to give it back. It would also be right for the owner to give you some kind of compensation (not necessarily money, even just sincere thanks) for saving the animal.

I have a Diabetic cat that recently went missing. After a couple days without his insulin he was probably in pretty rough shape and anyone who saw him would thing he was homeless or neglected while the exact opposite was true. Unfortunately he was always able to remove any collar we put on him so a tag was out of the question. It's been over a month now so I realize it's very likely he's no longer with us but if I ever did find out someone found him and managed to keep him healthy I would be extremely grateful and offer to pay for any expenses plus a good amount more. I would not however, allow them to keep him no matter how attached they were to him. He's my cat, I had him for 12 years and there's no way I would just give him away. If the person refused, things would probably get ugly.

Posts: 835 | From: Massachusetts | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
wanderwoman
Bluetooth Christmas


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quote:
Originally posted by Hubert Cumberdale:
If you find a lost dog or cat that was not neglected by its owner and the owner shows up later to reclaim it, the right thing to do would be to give it back. It would also be right for the owner to give you some kind of compensation (not necessarily money, even just sincere thanks) for saving the animal.

I have a Diabetic cat that recently went missing. After a couple days without his insulin he was probably in pretty rough shape and anyone who saw him would thing he was homeless or neglected while the exact opposite was true. Unfortunately he was always able to remove any collar we put on him so a tag was out of the question. It's been over a month now so I realize it's very likely he's no longer with us but if I ever did find out someone found him and managed to keep him healthy I would be extremely grateful and offer to pay for any expenses plus a good amount more. I would not however, allow them to keep him no matter how attached they were to him. He's my cat, I had him for 12 years and there's no way I would just give him away. If the person refused, things would probably get ugly.

Oh, Hubert, that's sad. I'm sorry your kitty got lost. I hope you do find him and find that he's been well cared for.

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"But I'm adding this to my reasons why I never really liked really good looking men much. Sheesh, what good is good looking if you have to stuff a sock in his mouth." - Sara at home
NFBSK, IIRC and other mysterious Snopester language

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Sara at home
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Chloe:
I think that if someone had taken in one or more of my much-loved boys for close to a year, and they seemed happy and settled, I'd let them stay. Tough call, though.

If your much loved pet was all that was left of your old life, it might be harder to let go.

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Assume that all my posts will be edited at least once. Dyslexic -- can't spell, can't type, can't proofread.

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Mistletoey Chloe
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Oh yes. Tough call without all the complicating circumstances: throw in total devastation, and who can say?

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~~Ai am in mai prrrrrraime!~~

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Venus
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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I have strong doubts about anyone who waits a year to claim their animals.
Posts: 177 | From: Orlando, Florida | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Venus:
I have strong doubts about anyone who waits a year to claim their animals.

On top of the whole rebuilding-their-lives thing, it may have taken them a year to find out where the animals were.

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How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

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Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


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These people didn't wait a year to claim their animals. The first woman cited in the article in the OP tracked her dog down last February and has been fighting to get him back ever since. The cases under discussion have taken a year to "wend their way" through the court system - and are still, in some cases, stuck there - this is not a case of people one year later going "Hmm didn't we used to have a dog, I wonder what ever happened to him?"

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If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it's just possible you haven't grasped the situation. - Jean Kerr

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Llewtrah
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by Hubert Cumberdale:
I have a Diabetic cat that recently went missing. After a couple days without his insulin he was probably in pretty rough shape and anyone who saw him would thing he was homeless or neglected while the exact opposite was true.

When my hyperthyroid kitty went missing and had been picked up by someone thinking she was neglected I was going frantic. Luckily they took her to the vet as she was so thin and I got her back, but they had wanted to keep her (it took 4 months of meds before she could have surgery). She's chipped, but she has mastered the art of collar removal.

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Messybeast Cat Resource Archive
Llewtrah's Soapbox

Posts: 2040 | From: Chelmsford, Essex, England | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

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