Massachusetts, my friendly neighbor up north, known for its generous and even notorious liberal nature (See Ted Kennedy) has decided to turn its back on any animals from areas affected by Hurricane Katrina, including Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
Their excuse? That because there are no vaccine records for the animals (they were destroyed by Katrina, knuckleheads!) they don't want to chance the spread of disease to their beloved Massachusetts animals. :@
From the Massachusetts Katrina Emergency Animal Order:
NOW THEREFORE, by authority of Massachusetts General Law Chapter 129, Section 2, as of this date, and until further notice, no dogs or cats will be permitted entry into the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that have originated in Alabama, Louisiana, or Mississippi unless through mechanisms and processes approved by the Department of Agricultural Resources.
Yes, because Massachusetts animals welfare is so much more important than the welfare of displaced Gulf State animals. And I guess Massachusetts' animals and pets are more important than the other 46 states that have willingly accepted displaced Gulf State animals.
So, let me ask you, are you going to require any Hurricane Katrina-displaced people entering Massachusetts to have all their shots up to date as well? C'mon!
Another part of the order reads:
Whereas; animals displaced by hurricane Katrina were separated from their legal owners and unorganized removal of these animals to another location greatly decreases the likelihood of these animals being reunited with their rightful owners;
Owner surrenders are being held in southern states close by for 30 days, which is enough time for an owner to locate their animal locally and even if they don't do it within 30 days, they can still find them. Massachusetts is just clueless as to how rescue groups work. Rescue groups utilize PetFinder.com which includes photos of animals and is a great resource for owners to find their lost animals. Petfinder even setup a special website to help owners reunite with their pets. I should point out that many owners have made the very
difficult decision to give up their pet because their home was
destroyed, so there is no need to keep these animals in over-crowded shelters in the South which have very limited resources right now.
My wife and I foster have been fostering Labrador retrievers / lab-mixes primarily from the Gulf State region for years and the dogs are shipped thousands of miles via a 100% volunteer Underground Railroad-like system with no state or Federal assistance. The volunteers drive the dogs one leg at a time to a next drop-off point where another volunteer drives the dogs to the next drop-off point. So this volunteer system is already in place if we needed to reverse the "railroad" and have dogs from the Northeast be sent back down to the South at no cost to the owner. (It's supported via the volunteers' own money as well as charitable donations.)
This is not the first time Massachusetts has been anti-animals or puts their animals first. The rescue group that my wife and I are involved with has all their transports travel with health certificates for all the dogs and are fully vetted before they travel (if they don't have previous records). This is good enough for the 10+ states that the transport travels through, but apparently, that's not good enough for Massachusetts, since several of our rescue transports have been stopped in just this state in the past year. They are told that there is no entry at all unless you go through Department of Agriculture.
In fact, they require all dogs to come to one of their facilities once in MA for a 10-day quarantine, despite that they had been quarantined before traveling AND they already have a health certificate.
Several sources have told me that Labrador breeders have specifically lobbied the state legislature and the Department of Agriculture to block out-of-state Labs being placed since the in-state lab-breeders don't want competition affecting their lucrative breeding business. Several of our transports have been stopped by the DoA with police assistance and hassled for health certificates before finally letting the transport proceed since they can't catch them on a "technicality".
I haven't heard of an domestic pet disease outbreak since, well, never... I'm sure it has happened, but in my opinion it's very rare and Massachusetts is being too overly cautious. Heck, if Massachusetts is so anal about medical records, then it no doubt gives immunity shots to all of the animals in its shelters. Thus, imported animals shouldn't affect them anyway.
People in the Gulf States took a risk saving these animals, so how bout you step up Massachusetts and take a risk for the sake of these animals? Hey Mass, show me some of that compassionate liberalism you are supposed to be known for!