Evacuated pets take breather in Ascension

Wade McIntyre
Assistant State Veterinarian Martha Littlefield checks in on some of the evacuated pets being transported from Shreveport to Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes. The pets were taken home in an air-conditioned 18-wheeler by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry. Staff Photo by Wade McIntyre

About 70 dogs and cats from Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes traveling back home to their owners stopped for an airing out at the Hwy. 30 on-ramp to Interstate 10 Wednesday.

The pets traveled inside their cages in an air-conditioned 18-wheeler. Assistant State Veterinarian Martha Littlefield and Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry Public Information Officer Sam Irwin followed behind in an SUV, acting as chaperons.

Littlefield explained that the pets were pulled over every 1 1/2 to 2 hours in order to vent carbon dioxide from the 18-wheeler.

The pets belong to owners in the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Gustav. Their owners would not have evacuated if they had not been able to have someone care for the animals, Littlefield said.

Owners were able to leave their pets at designated drop-off points in their parishes, and the animals were transported by the Department of Agriculture to Shreveport for housing during the storm.

“Inmates from Dixon Correction Center provided wonderful care of the pets,” Littlefield said.

The transportation and care of the animals is helpful in potentially hard hit storm areas where owners sometimes face the dilemma of abandoning pets if they cannot properly care for them during evacuation.

“Pet owners should remember that pet ownership carries responsibility,” Littlefield said. “Owners should normally be able to care for their animals in an evacuation situation.”