Monthly Archives: July 2008

CNN Investigation Continues

The folks at CNN who uncovered $85 million in unused Hurricane Katrina goods a few weeks ago have found yet another bone for Hurricane Katrina survivors to pick at.

The CNN investigation found that Mississippi, the state hardest-hit by Katrina’s wind and storm surge, was one of 16 states that had reportedly received surplus supplies meant for Katrina victims, but not followed through in distributing the goods to the intended recipients.

According to the news network, coffee makers, cleaning supplies, dishes, linens, clothes, and shoes all ended up with Mississippi state agencies, prisons, and schools.

Also, CNN reports, a spokesperson for a state agency that handled the surplus said, “There may be a need, but we were not notified that there was a great need for this particular property.” (GASP!)

Other media reports state that non-profit organizations must qualify through Mississippi’s Department of Finance to be allowed to buy the surplus supplies and for more info, to contact that department at (601) 939-2050.

Dogged-Day Afternoon

A Katrina survivor is dogged by the possibility of up to a year in jail in Austin, Texas plus up to $4,000 in fines for love of her dog.

When Shalanda Augillard evacuated New Orleans for Hurricane Katrina in 2005, she left behind her beloved cocker spaniel, Jazz. The dog was rescued by an animal group, and adopted by an Austin
woman.

But a few months later, Augillard saw Jazz on an animal rescue internet site and tracked down the Texas woman, Tiffany Madura, which led to a legal fight that went all the way to the Texas 3rd Court of Appeals. That court, citing DNA evidence, overruled a 2007 lower court ruling that had awarded custody of the dog to Madura.

With lawyers for both women on hand, Jazz – now 11 years old – was handed over to Auguillard outside a Texas courthouse last week. But, deputies were waiting to arrest Augillard.

It seems that in the heat of a dispute at a December 2006 hearing, the Katrina survivor had grabbed Madura by the hair, and was wanted on an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court on the resulting assault charge.

Madura’s attorney said his client spent thousands of dollars bringing the dog back to health, after what he said clearly showed former abuse, and the dog should be with his client.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, many rescued pets had heart worms and were not neutered, which some rescuers, mostly suburbanites, thought was evidence of owner neglect. Original owners, who were mostly inner-city residents, and their supporters responded that the differing standards of care reflected a cultural divide.

Also, Louisiana law treats pets as property that must be returned when found. Unless a government agency removes an animal for abuse or neglect, an owner is entitled to keep it.