Stray Animals Turning Into A Big Problem For Hancock County

Bay St. Louis now finds itself dealing with a big post-Katrina problem. Animal control officers say there are hundreds of displaced dogs and cats and some are turning into dangerous strays. Others are lost pets who need to be reunited with their owners.

Trapping displaced dogs and cats has become a 24 hour a day job for Curtis Quate.

"You can just look in the dog's eyes and see all the pain that's its gone through and all the trauma. And just like people, all the pets are going through, 'Where's my owner? Where's this? Where is my home?' It's hard, it tugs at your heart," Bay St. Louis Animal Control Officer Curtis Quate said.

Quate estimates several hundred cats and about 150 dogs were left homeless following Katrina. He's set up feeding stations around town until they can be rounded up.

"Right after the storm, I probably had six feeding stations, and it gets dwindled down because you've been able to trap all the animals in that area you were after. I still have three feeding stations that I go to every day and put out fresh food and fresh water," Quate said.

"They just wanted some affection, so we've been taking care of them," Bay St. Louis resident and County Supervisor Lisa Cowand said.

Cowand has fed many of the cats now wandering among FEMA trailers in her neighborhood.

"A lot of cats did survive Katrina. Obviously their family homes are gone and some of their families are not around, so they're just lost, hungry."

Quate says people should remember lost and hungry animals can also be dangerous.

"I know there are a lot of good hearted people out there that are meaning well, but if you don't know a dog and it's not your dog, don't try to approach the dog. It's one thing to try to sit food out for it, but it's another thing to try to put your hand on it. Approaching some of these dogs can be very dangerous."

Quate say the best way to help the stray animals is to call him.

by Al Showers