08 July 2007

Louisiana Dogs

Being a dog lover (and knowing I'm not alone in that among AALL members), I thought I'd share some dog-related information about our host state.

First, there's the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard dog (also known as the Catahoula Cur). You might not have encountered this breed before (and it's not recognized by the American Kennel Club), but it's a common working dog (herding cattle and hunting) in Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi. It's also a good companion dog: I see a few at my local dog park in Seattle even.

Named for Catahoula Parish, it's been Louisiana's state dog since 1979 (R.S. 49:165). A statute authorizes prestige license plates honoring the dog (R.S. 47:463.66), but I couldn't find the plate in the impressive list of prestige plates available from the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles.

Photos: Three of the champions from Abney Catahoulas, a breeder in Abita Springs, LA (about 60 miles northeast of New Orleans). You can read more about the breed at Abney Catahoulas' website or in Wikipedia.

Now, just because the Catahoula is the state dog doesn't mean that's the only dog you'll see when you're visiting. Around the French Quarter and the Convention Center, you're likely to see a range of breeds suitable to city life. The dog I got in New Orleans, who went to library school with me at LSU, was a beagle (the late Bradwell).

* * *

Dogs and other pets were part of the tragedy wrought by Katrina.

Some people chose to stay and wait out the storm because they didn't want to leave their pets behind and they weren't allowed to take them along to shelters. Others left their pets, thinking that they could return for them in a few days, but the areas affected by the floods were inaccessible for much longer and many people were evacuated to other states. Pets left behind endured starvation and physical danger (floodwaters were polluted, buildings were badly damaged). See Pets Homeless, Too, After Katrina, CBS News, Sept. 6, 2005, Lost Katrina Pets.

The vet school at Louisiana State University provided lots of medical support. Over a year after the hurricane, vets there saved a pony from an injury indirectly related to Katrina: the pony lives on a farm that took in a lot of homeless animals after Katrina, and one of the dogs later bit the pony. The pony's leg had to be amputated, but she's doing well with a prosthetic. Her owner remarked:
To me, she is a symbol of New Orleans. You know, if you ask me, New Orleans had its leg chopped off, but it can survive. Maybe we’ll need a prosthetic for New Orleans for a while but you know what, we can survive. That is the spirit of New Orleans, and this city can come back. Molly has come back, and she’s going on to bigger and better things. She’s not back to normal; she’s gonna be better.
LSU Highlights, Oct. 2006.

Many organizations from around the country responded. For instance, a friend of mine in Seattle decided to take a week off work to go and do what she could. Various friends gave her a little money to help out (it's a long drive from Seattle!), and she had several days of hard work with the team from Pasado's Safe Haven. (Read more about Pasado's Katrina work here.)

Months after the hurricane, some Louisianans were still trying to reunite with their pets, many placed with new families around the country. Lost Katrina Pets tries to help.

Congress responded to the the experience of animals in and after Katrina by amending the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.) in the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act of 2006 (PETS), Pub. L. 109-308, 120 Stat. 1725 (Oct. 6, 2006). Now the standards for state and local preparedness plans require governments to plan for the needs of people with pets, and service to pets is included within the "essential assistance" that federal agencies may provide during disasters (42 U.S.C. 5170b).

If you live in a hurricane area, check out these tips for hurricane season from the Humane Society of Louisiana.


Brian Huddleston said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meg Kribble said...

Cool and informative post, Mary! I'll be keeping an eye out for the Catahoulas.

Brian Huddleston said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
danica said...

Louisiana Dogs are a common working dog. they trained a dog for hunting. the standards plans require for the needs of people with pets, and service to pets is included within the essential assistance.the federal agencies may provide during disasters. thank you

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george said...

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