A blog by spcaLA president, Madeline Bernstein

Mar 21, 2011

Military Families Forced to Leave Pets Behind in Japan

It is being reported that families of military members stationed in Japan must leave their pets behind if they wish to evacuate the country on government run flights. http://ow.ly/4j8YB The families were also told that those pets would then be euthanized. Once again, as witnessed during Hurricane Katrina, a forced choice to leave without a family member or stay in harm's way has further traumatized those already suffering through the violence of an earthquake, a tsunami and the fear of radiation poisoning. This decision by the military is truly shocking and contrary to the lessons learned from prior disasters.

The world watched in horror as people chose to drown rather than abandon their pets in New Orleans. Consequently, FEMA added pet evacuation strategies to their checklists, and states, like California, passed laws mandating that pets be considered in disaster planning.  Yet our military is asking their families to kill their pets as a condition of being rescued. Is the military asking a parent to explain to a child why his or her puppy and kitten can't come on the rescue plane? Is the military telling those who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country that their country will not help them unless they kill their dog? Is this the same military, deployed to assist in national disasters, which saw people essentially commit suicide when confronted with this choice before that forgot the enormous strength of the human animal bond?

President Obama: As commander in chief, please countermand this order. If you are going to rescue people -do it - without torturing them in the process. Crate the small pets, muzzle the large ones and just get it done. http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

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