Long term Effects of War on Terror / Vet Shortage Affecting Animal Shelters
During observations of 9/11 we examine long term effects of the subsequent "War on Terror" and the blood and treasure America spent on two simultaneous ground wars in Asia.
of the “War on Terror”
Music, prayer and reflection could be heard throughout the country – and here at home on 9/11 on Monday. Even after the 22nd anniversary of the terrorist attacks – the observances and reflection never really end, largely because those terrible events that day likely changed all of our lives in one way or another. After the attacks, the United States would soon find itself fighting in two ground wars on the Asian continent, one which only ended in 2021 in Afghanistan.
The wars exacted a brutal toll in American blood and treasure. More than 7,000 U.S. service members were killed in post-9/11 operations. According to a Brown University study, the 20-year “War on Terror” cost Americans $8 trillion – a staggering figure by any metric. And it all began with 9/11 – and the overall death toll of 2,996 people.
Retired fighter pilot Marine Lt. Col Oliver Jenkins spoke to the large crowd of emergency and law enforcement personnel and citizens at a Monday morning ceremony at the headquarters of the city’s police and fire departments. Jenkins shared some of his thoughts about the true heroes of 9/11. “The heroes of that day, let’s be clear, the captain mentioned, those were those policemen and firemen that went into buildings on fire, tried to...find if people were still alive in some of those buildings. And I mean, they’re still suffering even the ones that managed to survive those challenges, still suffering today with all types of medical issues. So, those are the heroes.”
The Bossier City observance took place on Monday in the shadow of the Liberty Garden, where a 16-foot beam has stood since 2015, a haunting relic from one of the twin towers which collapsed on 9/11.
Effects of the U.S.
Veterinarian Shortage Crisis
In a Red River Radio News update, on Monday [Sept. 11], we heard about the surge in the population of pets at some area animal shelters. That, in turn, is causing a strain on the animal control operations of those facilities. It appears there is no single reason for the imbalance between the number of animals being surrendered of late, while the number of pet adoptions has dropped significantly. And such a disparity has led to more overcrowding at some regional shelters. This pet over-population is especially troubling at “no kill’ animal shelters which often work closely with outside agencies – all in an effort to help find forever homes for these pets. One such shelter is called “Pets Fur People” in Tyler, Texas. Executive Director Gayle Helms made a plea to the public about the need for responsible ownership, which includes having your new pet spayed or neutered.
Now, on Tuesday [Sept. 12] morning we heard from Helms about one important factor in this overcrowding. “We found out that there seems to be not as many people, not as many students graduating from veterinarian school. So, therefore, if that’s the case, then a lot of animals are not being spayed and neutered because there are no vets to that.”
The problem appears to go much deeper than that. According to research conducted by the ASPCA, 31 million households took part in a pet adoption beginning in April 2020 just as the COVID-19 virus was requiring many people to stay home. Research also discovered Americans were spending more money on animal care. These factors only exacerbated a veterinarian shortage already in this country. Helms recalls that when the pandemic began to subside, her shelter began to see an increasing number of pet surrenders, as more people went back to work at the office.
The state of Louisiana and Louisiana State University have already taken action. According to LSU, the national shortage of veterinarians is expected to reach 15,000 by the end of the decade. To combat that shortage, the state is investing $2.2 million in the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. Their goal is to nearly double admissions by next year from 120 to 200.