A grandmother in Louisiana is saving dogs in her area after Hurricane Laura left the animals abandoned and starving in the streets.
Rita Bingham, 84, of DeRidder, Louisiana, has housed about 30 dogs in her home since Hurricane Laura ripped through the western part of the state last week, leaving at least six people dead.
Bingham is the director of theÂ The Humane Society Of Western Louisiana and tells DailyMail.com how the shelter has been packed with over 150 cats and dogs since the storm.
She even describes the heartbreaking aftermath of having no choice but to dig a hole outside to cremate the bodies of dead animals after the shelter lost power and the corpses stored in freezers began to decay.
‘When the freezers went out, you can imagine what went through our mind about these dead animals,’ Bingham said.
The shelter usually has coolers for dead animals which are then collected for cremation every three months.
But since the power went out, the animals began to decompose so Bingham and her family dug a large outdoor pit, got accelerant and cremated the animals themselves.
‘We called the sheriff first to make sure I wouldn’t get arrested because its illegal to bury them,’ she said.
‘That’s what we had to do. Not what we wanted to do. But what we had to do,’ she added.
Bingham, who is an animal-lover at heart, is still housing more than 20 dogs a week after the storm.
‘My daughter and I take the sick, the lame and the ugly. We take the old sick dogs and let them have peace before they go,’ she said.
And while she wishes she could save them all, she says ‘I can’t do it all. I wish I could.’
Bingham described how heartbreaking it was to see animals completely disregarded on the side of the road by families who evacuated before the storm.
She said she now has two Shih-Tzus in her care that were dropped off at her home after they were discarded on the road.
‘People don’t realize that after Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, hotels and motels and shelters have to take in animals if they’re left in an enclosed area.
‘People don’t know that so they were leaving them and saying, ”It’s a dog, It’ll find its way,”’ she said. ‘But that dog has been dependent on you for years, he doesn’t know how to get food on his own or survive.
‘We can stay cool and we can fan ourselves. They can’t do that. They’re dogs. They depend on humans,’ she added.
Hurricane Laura pounded the Gulf Coast with wind and rain, while unleashing a massive wall of seawater.
At least six people were killed in the storm, including a 14-year-old girl and a 68-year-old man who died when trees fell on their homes in Louisiana
Bingham says her home got ‘hit worse than anybody in the neighborhood’ but is thanking her lucky stars that she and her family are safe.
‘My two trees went in my neighbors’ yard. We just laid here, I wasn’t scared but it was scary.
‘I’m too old to be scared of the wind,’ she joked. ‘I’ve lived through the second World War and the polio epidemic, you name it.’
Bingham said she’s learned from previous storms and had most of her trees cut down after Hurricane Rita in 2005, which she described as ‘bad, really really bad’.
Bingham says she hopes to find homes for the animals, as most of the puppies and kittens get adopted first and finds it more difficult to adopt out adult animals.
The Humane Society of Western Louisiana also runs a thrift store to support its needy pets.
‘I’m in my 80s, I have a lot of business with these animals, but who else is gonna do it? These are dogs that nobody wanted,’ she said.
‘I’m not a really religious person, but the Bible says to take care of your brother’s a**. And that is what I do.’
She said that about 60 percent of her income goes into taking care of animals and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
‘If my neighbor’s not gonna do it, then I’m gonna do it. And that’s how I feel,’ she said.
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