Physicians Group Knocks Feds, Abandoning of Pets Causing Trauma

September 4, 2005
Douglas Maher

Washington, D.C. (AHN) - Americans have seen the images hundreds of times played out on TV screens this week as humans were rescued from rooftops that held them above flooded neighborhoods. Pets, on the other hand were being left to fend for themselves as they are not allowed in shelters.

Doctors from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine sharply criticized federal authorities carrying out the New Orleans evacuation for forcing evacuees to choose between their possessions and their companion animals.

PCRM psychiatrists say that being forced to leave animals behind aggravates the trauma the flood victims have already endured. For many, companion animals are like other family members.

"The evacuation process is already slow and difficult. It is only more painful when evacuees are forced to leave their animals behind, condemning them to a slow death by dehydration," says PCRM ethologist Jonathan Balcombe, Ph.D.

PCRM adds, "Abandoning animals is illegal under Louisiana law."