In the worst of times, animals bring out the best in us

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

The stories coming out of Louisiana are heartbreaking. Epic flooding stemming from torrential rainfall reportedly claimed six lives and forced thousands from their homes.

As reported on Monday, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said more than 20,000 people had been rescued across South Louisiana as of Sunday night, and more than 10,000 people were in shelters.

On Tuesday, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries provided an additional update on the number of people and animals rescued from flood-ravaged areas.

“Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement agents have currently rescued a total of 3,139 people and 603 animals to date due to the flooding in Louisiana,” the agency said. “Agents began search and rescue missions around 4 a.m. on Aug. 12 and have ran search and rescue missions around the clock ever since.”

Eli, the In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot.
In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot Eli catching up on the latest news. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

Agency spokesman Adam Einck told that the vast majority of animals rescued early on were pets.

“It does present a lot of challenges, but our agents have been trained for this,” Einck said.  “What our guys do is very heroic – they are going into these neighborhoods, the terrain is very treacherous, they work throughout the night.”

The next challenge will be reuniting animals and owners separated due to the disaster — and the Companion Animal Alliance (CAA) of Baton Rouge is already on the job.

In a message posted on its website, the CAA says it had taken in 90 animals as of Sunday night, and offers advice for people who have lost and found pets.

“Lost pet owners and finders should put the information on Lost Pets of Baton Rouge on Facebook.  Look at Visitor Posts for recent activity,” the agency’s message says. “There are also Lost Pet pages for Zachary and Central.  Learn more about reuniting pets and families on our Lost and Found Pet page.”

The CAA says it is also in desperate need of “temporary fosters” for rescued animals waiting to be reunited with their owners. Interested parties should contact or call 225 774 7701.

For more information about how to help animals affected by the flood, click here.

Blue lives matter bill puts things in perspective

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

Yesterday this country lost a true hero.

A man went to work and never came home.

And now somewhere a family grieves. A wife is now a widow. Three children no longer have a father.

But there are no protests. There is no national media coverage and there is no national outrage — because Ronald Tarentino Jr. was a cop.

Officer Down

His death is summed up in a few brief paragraphs on the Officer Down Memorial Page website. Here’s what happened. Tarentino, an officer with the Auburn Police Department in Massachusetts for two years, made a traffic stop shortly after midnight. As he approached the vehicle, someone inside (allegedly) pulled a gun and killed him in cold blood.

“The subject who shot him fled the scene, but was later located at an Oxford apartment building,” the synopsis on the ODMP website says. “As officers searched the apartment he was believed to have been hiding in they discovered a secret passage into an adjoining apartment. When the officers made entry into the second apartment the subject exited a closet and opened fire, wounding one Massachusetts State Police tactical team trooper before being killed.”

Tarentino — who had previously served on the Leicester Police Department — was just 42.

Grim Statistics

Tarentino was the second law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty in Massachusetts this year. In all, 38 American police officers have died in the line of duty so far this year. Of those, 19, including Tarentino, died after being shot. The number of officers killed by gunfire so far this year represents a 46 percent increase compared to the same time period in 2015.

Black and white photograph of New York Police Department barriers taken by Alexandra Bogdanovic
NYPD barriers. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

Danville, Ohio Police Officer Thomas Cottrell — the first officer killed in the line of duty this year — was also the first to die after being shot. According to information on the ODMP website, the person who surprised him behind a local building was targeting police officers.

“At approximately 11:20 pm (January 17) dispatchers received a call from a female subject stating that police officers in Danville were in danger,” according to the synopsis on “She stated her ex-boyfriend was armed and intended to kill a police officer.”

When Cottrell did not respond to radio transmissions, law enforcement personnel organized and initiated a coordinated search. Searchers found Cottrell’s body a short while later and an ensuing manhunt resulted in the apprehension of the alleged perpetrator.

At just 34, Cottrell worked in law enforcement for more than a decade. He his survived by his parents, stepmother, several siblings and three children.

The Blue Lives Matter Bill

According to various media accounts, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards could soon sign a bill that would make attacking a police officer, firefighter or paramedic in that state a hate crime.

Apparently this doesn’t sit well with a lot of people — most of whom probably have no problem admitting they hate cops.

Personally, I think it’s great. Because as far as I’m concerned, all lives matter.