Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Disaster and Animals

Like Kathryn Lilley, I live in California. The firestorms haven’t affected me directly, except for some coughing and breathing problems because of all the smoke that hung in the air. The smoke was sometimes so visible that I felt as if my glasses needed to be cleaned constantly, thanks to the haziness! Plus, my husband and I weren’t able to drive my younger son to his apartment in San Diego on the day we wanted because the 5 Freeway was closed at Camp Pendleton due to the fires. All relatively minor.

But so many people lost homes and vehicles. A few lost their lives. Really terrible stuff.

Then there was the effect on animals. I saw on TV how people flocked to evacuation centers such as Qualcomm Stadium, living in tents and on bleachers and wherever else they found space. Their pets couldn’t be there with them, so special rescue centers were set up.

The pictures of those poor animals were heart-wrenching. Cats hissed at the cameras. Dogs cowered in fear. Volunteers expressed their sorrow for these pets, but said that at least they had moms and dads who would come for them when they could.

I missed seeing the segment, but I was also told that the news featured a man who was permitted to go into endangered homes to rescue pets who’d been left behind. That would be a hard job even if the animals had cooperated, but many were scared and attempted to protect their homes--and therefore fought with their rescuer. From what I heard, he hung tough and got them out, like it or not. Good man!

Horses and livestock were evacuated to local college campuses and other places set up to house them.

What about the pets and livestock who didn’t get out? And the wildlife? I shudder to think of all the animals who may have attempted to flee but couldn’t escape. A lot of people were given voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders. Most animals got no advice or assistance; they either got out or died. At least the animals at the San Diego Wild Animal Park were safe, protected by firebreak and irrigated areas, and even able to take refuge in their watering holes.

One thing I hope is that, with some of their senses so superior to humans, as many animals as possible became aware of the fires and fled safely. Where would they go with so many acres of their habitat destroyed? That’s a whole other issue.

By the way, hope everyone's Halloween has been fun and safe!


1 comment:

Kathryn Lilley said...

Hi Linda,

It's all been so horrible for everyone, human and animal alike. Thank you for putting in a good word for the "voiceless"--the animals--that were affected by the fires.

Best, Kathryn