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Saturday, September 10, 2005

This Is Just Wrong

Reports center around actions of police in St. Bernard Parish
Rumors have abounded over the past few days that police and the military are shooting dogs in New Orleans – dogs roaming the streets, and even people’s pets in front of their owner’s eyes.

However, military officials and the state Wildlife and Fisheries Department deny they are playing any role in shooting people’s pets. In fact, the military announced Friday it will begin to help with animal evacuations, and there has been video footage of soldiers providing animals with food until they can be rescued.

So, who is shooting pets?

Most of the news reports seem to point to local New Orleans authorities, in particular the police in St. Bernard Parish. St. Bernard is one of the areas hardest hit by Katrina -- and one of the areas where Best Friends is currently conducting boat rescues. (See complete story under Best Friends Activities.)

Video shot by the Dallas Morning News includes footage of members of the National Guard and Louisiana State Police helping the animals they encounter, offering them compassion and kindness along with food and water.

However, the video also includes evidence of animals being shot, and an interview with Sgt. Mike Minton of the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s office. Minton admits he has been shooting dogs, and says it is for their own good. When asked if this is a difficult job, Minton merely shrugs.Other stories have indicated that the local authorities in St. Bernard Parish are shooting animals.

A report from the Cox news service details the forced evacuation of residents of St. Bernard. It includes an interview with Marie Miller, who was forced to evacuate by the police of St. Bernard Parish -- after the police shot her two mixed pit bulls while Miller was in the next room.

"They shot our dogs!" Miller, a 54-year-old housewife, said of her mixed pit bulls, Angel and Hooch. She had gone inside to collect clothes and personal papers when she heard it.

"Boom! Boom!" Miller said. "Hooch came in and had blood all over him."