When people think of the animals affected by the BP oil spill, most of us think of birds, fish and turtles. But there are other animals without a drop of oil on them that are also directly affected. They are the dogs and cats of the cash-strapped fishermen who are forced to surrender their beloved pets to local animal shelters.
According to CNN, shelters all over Louisiana are seeing a marked increase in the number of pets that are being dropped off ever since the April 21 spill.
At one shelter in St. Bernard Parish, where nearly every livelihood is somehow connected to the Gulf, they saw an increase of more than 100 dogs this past June compared to June last year. In June of 2009, they had 17 dogs turned in by owners. This year, 127. They say it’s all because of the spill.
"It comes down to feeding your family or feeding your dog. That's the decision they have to make," said Colleen Bosley of Catholic Charities of New Orleans, which is now partnering with the SPCA to supply pet food at its weekly food distributions in coastal parishes.
The SPCA is hoping BP will help pay for pet food and veterinary expenses that would help keep the family pet at home instead of at the shelters.
With the help of donations, the Louisiana SPCA just launched a program, the Gulf Coast Companion Animal Relief Program that is trying to keep pets at home by providing food, vet care, spaying and neutering, even microchipping.
The saddest part is that so many of these now homeless pets may never find another home as some of the shelters these animals have been brought to are NOT no-kill shelters.
Many of the dogs have only about 2 or 3 weeks, if they’re lucky, to get adopted. If they don’t get a second chance, these pets will likely be euthanized.
And they never even had a drop of oil on them…
If you would like to help these now homeless animals, please visit the Louisiana SPCA's Gulf Coast Companion Animal Relief Program's website.