Some tiny creature, mad with wrath,

Is coming nearer on the path.

--Edward Gorey

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Outlying Islands

Writer, lawyer, cyclist, rock climber, wanderer of dark residential streets, friend.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


I preface this by noting that I am a cat owner twice-over, and a cat lover, though I am sure by referring to myself as an owner rather than a caretaker or facilitator or companion or wet nurse or whatever, there are those out there who consider my cat OWNING to be tantamount to enslavement, and to them I say only "Pffft!"

But notwithstanding my status as a person who sleeps in close proximity to domestic animals (unless they choose not to sleep near me; they're not chained to the bed or anything -- the chains are used only for willing women), I think this House bill is patently absurd.

After the bureacratic nightware we've gone through, which has not only slowed the pace of recovery along the Gulf Coast but has also certainly cost hundreds of lives that might have been saved given more effective and proactive disaster relief, and given the scapegoating of the slow response upon various federal state turf wars and the like, can we really afford to impose yet another condition on state eligibility for federal assistance?

And on predicated on cats and dogs?

This is what happens when the television news focuses favors the inane and fuzzy over the difficult. No doubt, lots of people have pressed legislators to do something about the lack of disaster preparation directed toward ensuring domestic animals are provided for, and no doubt, as the article notes, that some people stayed behind simply because they were unwilling to leave their companion animals alone in the storm . . . but seriously, folks, hasn't it become painfully obvious that FEMA and domestic disaster resonse generally requires more than planning that ensures that fluffy gets on the bus?

Has it occurred to anyone that some people don't take terribly good care of their animals, that others are severely allergic to them, and that rescues and sheltering arrangements inevitably put people -- and now would put animals -- in painfully close quarters? Do we see in the evidence coming in from Katrina that disaster planners are so flush with funding and so overly prepared to handle whatever nature or al Qaeda throws at them that we can really afford to force them to rededicate already insufficient resources to the rather complicated problem of involving household animals in evacuation plans?

For f=*k's sake, people -- can we keep our eye on the ball as yet another Cat 4 storm bears down on Louisiana?


Blogger Shinobi said...

A lot of people refused to evacuate because they couldn't take their pets. I think they are trying to remove that barrier so that more people will get out.

Unfortunately it seems like they aren't going to help you if your problem is being poor.

10:47 AM  
Blogger Moon said...

Bluntly, anyone who is willing to risk his or her life rather than leave a pet behind can take his chances. There's virtually no such thing as a truly mandatory evac order, and people stay behind for more foolish reasons than that. But by conditioning FEMA funding on states' providing for domestic animals in evacuation, we're ultimately reducing relief for those localities that don't think it practicable to make such provision.

I love my cats, I truly do, but if my house is burning I have no doubt that they will be out of sight, and that I will only be able to rescue them by digging around in the nooks and crannies of the house that's burning around me for the mere chance to fight their frantic claws and teeth and throw them out the window quite possibly never to see them again anyway.

The truth is, if my house is burning for real, and they're not close to hand, I'm going out the window without them. I won't like it, and I will grieve, but three weeks later I'll be alot more bereft over the house than I will be over the cats.

And if I die in the fire because I refuse to leave them behind, I'll get exactly what I deserve. I wouldn't risk my life or anyone else's over a domestic animal; I would specifically instruct rescue personal to take on no extraordinary risk to save my cats, although I'm sure that would be redundant -- the people who do this for a living already have their priorities straight.

Too bad we can't say the same thing about the House.

10:55 AM  
Anonymous binky said...

And of course, it is possible to have policy change without an act of congress.

Hmm, is it just me, or does that sounds dirty?

4:03 PM  

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