Katrina Dog Doc Mine Ducks the Real Question


Should a living, breathing, frolicking house pet be considered a piece of property? Is it fair to set a statute of limitations on the time it takes pet owners to retrieve their four-legged companions from an animal shelter, if natural disaster forced the separation? And if a new family adopts, renames, and arguably gives a better life to a pet, does the original owner have any right to reclaim their beloved once located? Underreported and over-emotional, Geralyn Pezanoski’s 81-minute doc exposé about dogs displaced during Hurricane Katrina moves slower than a basset hound to get to these and other thorny questions of responsibility, ownership—and, to a lesser degree, class. Beyond haphazardly shot interviews with animal rescuers and adoptive parents, the film tracks a handful of heartbroken Katrina victims who, apparently not having enough bureaucratic clusterfucks in their life, are unable to find the furry remnants of their ruined homes/lives. Some get third-act reunion uplift thanks to sympathetic “second families,” while others push on through their grief. But the tougher, unasked question is whether the estimated 150,000-plus animals who died during Katrina are comparable to the 1,464 human lives this film is decidedly not about.

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