For animals, the best thing to come out of Hurricane Katrina was the federal Pets Evacuation and Transportation (PETS) Act.
Signed into law on October 6, 2006, PETS requires local and state jurisdictions to take into account domestic pets and service animals when formulating and implementing disaster plans. It also gives FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) the power to deny FEMA funds to municipalities and states that do not form or implement such plans.
Before Katrina, the accepted policy in the United States was that a human life trumps the life of an animal. Period. The good news is that attitudes are changing. Today, many people consider pets to be family members; I know I do!
During Katrina numerous people had to be forcibly removed from their homes because they would not abandon their pets. The pets were then left to fend for themselves against a ferocious force of nature. Some survived — some didn’t. A huge number of Americans descended on the New Orleans area to help rescue the pets that did make it through.
Mine, a documentary by filmmakers Geralyn Pezanoski and Erin Essenmacher explores the journey of five Katrina dogs and their humans who searched for them in the midst of trying to pick up the pieces of lives mangled by catastrophe. The film won awards including the 2009 South by Southwest Film Festival and Independent Lens Audience Award for 2009-2010.
Touched by the length to which these pet parents would go to reunite with their “children”, Pezanoski decided to offer Mine to community groups for showings. Shelters, rescue groups, libraries or any organizations that would like spread Mine‘s message are welcome to schedule a showing in their local venue. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mine‘s impact will educate and change attitudes about the place pets hold in our society and ultimately change laws, giving rights to animals.
It is powerful, poignant and a must-see for anyone concerned about their own furry family members. It is also a great movie to watch as a family and will teach children about the place animals hold in our hearts and our obligation to them.
If you were faced with a Katrina situation, what would you do? Truthfully, we like to think we would act in a certain way but until we actually come face to face with that type of emergency no one really knows for sure the decisions we would make.
Flickr: Daniel Lobo